Up Close: Yeondoo Jung
By HG Masters
Across 25 years of artistic practice, Yeondoo Jung has explored the theatrical space between individuals’ dreams and reality, their imaginations and history. While on an artist residency in Jeju Island, Jung encountered prickly-pear cactus plants and learned the seeds had originated in Mexico and were carried across the Pacific by the Kuroshio Current. Investigating the countries’ connections, Jung found that in 1905, a British merchant vessel, the SS Ilford, transported more than 1,000 workers and families from Incheon to Mérida, in the Mexican state of Yucatán, to work in the henequen industry. He subsequently spent two years interviewing second- to fifth-generation members of the Korean diaspora in Mexico, giving form to the multipart project One Hundred Years of Travel (2023).