Park Chan-Kyong

  • 〈Kyoto School〉, 2017, 2 channel photography projection. Dimensions variable , Courtesy of the artist

  • 〈Kyoto School〉, 2017, 2 channel photography projection. Dimensions variable , Courtesy of the artist

Kyoto School


 This work is a two-channel projection of photographic stills. One channel is occupied by the images of the famous Kegon waterfall in Japan, alongside quotations of text from The Standpoint of World History and Japan (1941), a roundtable discussion between four scholars of the Kyoto School on the cusp of Japan’s entry into WWII. Widely regarded as the most important Japanese philosophical school of the early 20th Century, their work was an attempted synthesis of Western philosophical systems with Zen and Buddhist ideas, most notably the concept of “Absolute Nothingness” (Zettai Mu). On the other channel, textual extracts from the diaries of student Kamikaze pilots are projected. Beginning as a subtle reflection on a specific historical event, this work meditates on the questions of Nationalism and Cosmopolitanism in Japan during the WWII, while opening up a discursive space for thinking through the possibilities of a philosophical image and desperate writing.



 Chun-sang-yeol-cha-bun-ya-jido was created as a promotional trailer for the 2015 International Intangible Heritage Film Festival that took place in Jeonju, Korea. It was essential for the artist that the work conveyed the theme of the festival: “stars”. This in turn became a way by which he could explore his fascination with two ancient astronomical drawings from the Joseon dynasty, Chun-sang-yeol-cha-bun-ya-jido and Hon-cheon jeondo, for their amalgamation of the Confucian cosmology and Western European astronomical knowledge from the early modern period. The 18th-century graphical representations are therefore unique for simultaneously embodying both scientific understanding and philosophical qualities (though both are now judged to be inaccurate in scientific terms). For Park, they function as a bridge, or a metaphorical time machine, which connects our present with the ancient past.

About the Artist

 Born in 1965, he is an artist and a filmmaker based in Seoul. His subjects have extended from the Cold War to traditional Korean religious culture. He has produced media works such as Sets (2000), Power Passage (2004), Flying (2005), Sindoan (2008), Radiance (2010), Anyang Paradise City (2011), Night Fishing (2011, co-directed with Park Chan-wook), Manshin (2013), Citizen’s Forest (2016), and Kyoto School (2017)
His works have been exhibited in several international venues, such as Haus der Kunst der Welt in Berlin, RedCat Gallery in Los Angeles, INIVA in London, Kukje Gallery in Seoul and many others. He has won various prizes including Hermès Korea Misulsang (2004), Golden Bear Prize for short films of the Berlin International Film Festival (2011) and Best Korean Film of the Jeonju International Film Festival (2011). He worked as an artistic director of SeMA Biennale Mediacity Seoul 2014 Ghosts, Spies and Grandmothers.