Obayashi Foundation Research Program 2023


Ms.Minouk Lim

Minouk Lim (b. 1968) is an artist of many forms and has been creating works that are beyond the boundary of different genres and media, deepening the scope of questions while encompassing writing, music, video, installation, and performance as her modes of artistic expression. Lim's practice recalls historic losses, ruptures, and repressed traumas. Rooted in language, and specifically, the politics of expression, her work does not replay past events, rather, they elevate the experiences, memories, and feelings through the means of imagining or engaging structural beings of non-human witnesses in her performative sculptural objects and installations.

Comments from the Chairperson of the Selection Committee

After the chaos of the pandemic, the selection process for the fourth round of grant recipients has begun while society is gradually regaining its normalcy. This grant, which supports the independent study and investigation of the state of cities by artists, is increasingly meaningful and potential when we remember the various difficulties and restrictions we have experienced.

In this selection process, we focused on artists who face the city and society from a broader perspective and have the potential to create a practice that is not limited to a single solution, while remaining conscious of the fact that we are in the midst of a period of change. In addition, it was the consensus of the committee members that we would like to select artists from regions that have been nominated in the past but not yet selected. There was also a discussion on preference for female artists (working independently) who had not yet been selected in the previous three rounds of selections, and these discussions resulted in the selection of Minouk Lim, who is from and resides in Korea.

Since the beginning of her career, Lim has focused her work on the themes of community fragmentation and loss of history brought about by rapid democratization, modernization, and urban development in her own country. Lim has sublimated the desire for solidarity and its potential, which is still latent in people despite their difficulties, into a poetic and dynamic expression through meticulous researches and a wide variety of outputs.

Lim feels that Korea has lost the beliefs and traditions that were the spiritual pillars of its communities. In contrast, Lim was interested in the fact that Japanese festivals have passed on these traditions, and used them as a starting point for her research for this grant. In particular, by investigating ancient rituals related to water and fire, and by connecting the rivers of Tokyo to an imaginary sea, it will illuminate the existence of frameworks and boundaries defined by history and society, as well as the ambiguity of what water, essentially free to roam, can show us. The proposal to present the results of her research in the form of a participative performance tour and exhibition is impressive in that it shows that there is more than one answer to the quest, and that her attitude of accepting ambiguity is impressive, so we believe that she is an artist who will present a vision of the path we should take to break free from the rigidity of contemporary society and to move forward into the future.

Nomura Shino
Senior Curator, Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery