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NO. 4

English  / Korean  


The Christmas Trees Island

Minsook Kang

2018©Minsook Kang

    Every year during the Christmas holiday season, I think of 'The Christmas Trees Island'.

    In the winter of 2015, I spent my first Christmas holiday abroad while staying at a friend's house in the Netherlands. At that time, as the Christmas holiday was approaching, people seemed to be busy preparing for Christmas in every street and every store. In particular, buying a pretty tree and decorating the inside of the house was enough to feel the atmosphere of "Gezellig" as Dutch people like.

2016©Minsook Kang

    Along with the tremendous sound of firecrackers all night long, I witnessed an unfamiliar scene on New Year's Day, 2016. The Christmas trees that used to decorate the house warmly were thrown away on every street. The trees that piled up over time seemed like corpses or Korean graves. We started to look for the trees one day while riding a bike with as many roots alive as possible. We picked it up one by one and transplanted it to my friend's community garden. In this way, at the beginning of 2016, I saved a total of 6 trees, and I returned to Korea.

2016©Minsook Kang

    In August 2016, I moved to the Netherlands to study. Shortly after arriving in the Netherlands, I received an unexpected email from a friend's community garden asking us to move the tree to another location. My friend didn't know exactly why, but he assumed it was because the tree we transplanted didn't look nice. Afterwards, I searched for a space to transplant a tree planted in the garden, but it didn't seem easy to find a place to plant a tree with an official permit. I temporarily moved the trees to the front of the house without any alternatives. As soon as it turned a new year, I started a project to save abandoned trees in Rotterdam and The Hague.

2017©Minsook Kang

    The trees in front of the house grew bigger and bigger as time passed, and it became a hindrance to neighbours' walking. I could no longer postpone moving the tree to where it could be planted. And one day, a small island suddenly came to mind. This is a very small island where I used to take a break on a friend's boat when the weather is good. And on the eighteenth of October, 2017, the three last surviving trees were loaded onto a friend's boat before the weather got colder and illegally occupied a small island. Then I named this island 'The Christmas Trees Island.'

2017©Minsook Kang

    In this way, my work focuses on the stories of worthless people or things dying in silence and loneliness in our capitalist society, which focuses on production, sales, and consumption. Above all, I am trying to save, restore, and reclaim their values through my micro-political gestures. To awaken our senses to this overlooked phenomenon, I create video documents, installations, and publications. I am currently preparing a walking tour to visit this island with a small audience around the summer of 2022.


Minsook Kang    
    Minsook Kang is an artist living and working between South Korea and The Netherlands. She has shown her work in numerous installation and video exhibitions, including SongEun Art Cube, archive bomm, Space CAN, Seoul International New Media Festival (NeMaf), Insa Art Space, Gyeonggi Creation Center (GCC), and Museum of Art at Seoul National University (MOA). Since moving to the Netherlands in 2016, she has engaged in daily actions, storytelling performances, video documentations and publications based on her long-term research. Her work has been exhibited at The Balcony, Het Nutshuis, Stroom Den Haag, Research Center for Material Culture (RCMC), Quartair, Hospitalfield Arts, and Zaal 3.

    강민숙은 한국과 네덜란드를 오가며 활동하는 작가이다. 그동안 송은 아트큐브, 아카이브 봄, 스페이스 캔, 서울 국제 뉴미디어 페스티벌(NeMaf), 인사미술공간, 경기창작센터(GCC), 서울대학교 미술관(MoA) 등 다수의 설치 및 영상 작품을 선보여 왔다. 2016년 네덜란드로 이주한 이후 장기간의 연구를 바탕으로 데일리 액션, 스토리텔링 퍼포먼스, 비디오 도큐멘테이션, 출판 등의 활동을 하고 있다. 그녀의 작품은 Het Nutshuis, Stroom Den Haag, RCMC(Research Center for Material Culture), Quartair, Hospitalfield Arts 및 Zaal3에서 전시되었다.