By the 칼mont Family

Written by Jamie Bruno
Editors: Alysia Kim & Eric Davis
Translation: Soomi Park.
As printed on the Space Beam Community monthly publication, Incheon, Korea.
Stairs [from the Golden Lake Series] Alysia Kim

The train will be here long after your art.

Who’s in charge here? Who can we go to? How is this organized?

I feel like art in Korea is just an excuse to have a party.

We are a group of friends from various backgrounds.

We are interested in collaboration and sharing ideas.

We emphasize communication and working together.

Our collective work is often temporal, social, and spatial.

Before discussing the conceptualization of Cadavre Exquis, one should know that our group, the 칼mont Family, and the project itself evolved together, simultaneously.

1. Geumho

Our short history begins in Geumho in the spring of 2009. Geumho is a small neighborhood in Seoul that sits atop a hill next to the Han River. One can get a good view of the river from the hill, especially from the roofs of the buildings. Just this past summer, if one were to look up from the river at Geumho, one would’ve seen a wall of houses resembling jumbled staircases stacked on top of each other.

Now, all that is left are piles of rubbish and thick, naked blocks of concrete for future high-rises.

Geumho, the abandoned neighborhood, became the foundation for the group’s commitment to each other and to Korea. Geumho was special; it was virtually empty of people but incredibly full of material objects and pieces of family life: books, diaries, utensils, photos, clothing, appliances; the list goes on and on. When it was discovered by friends, it was already in a state of slow decay; the windows broken, the floors coming apart, ceilings drooping and moldy, and wallpaper ripped and shredded.

Red Chair [from the Golden Lake Series] Alysia Kim

It seemed as though some kind of sudden natural disaster had forced people to hastily leave their homes. Therefore, these homes–these once private spaces–became public. Doors were left unlocked. Walls were split open.

Children’s Room [made of materials and brick from Geumho] Agathe LePoutre

Geumho became a playground and a market to many people. Every weekend more and more Koreans and foreigners visited the area; taking time, taking pictures, taking things. For us, the neighborhood offered a very intimate look at the lives of hundreds of displaced families. It gave material and spatial understanding and identification. We traveled there every weekend, getting lost in the architecture or in a particular empty space, or having picnics on rooftops, talking and gazing at the city skyline beyond the Han River. This place that had been forced open by the reality of eviction was so full of memories and is what made Geumho feel both melancholy and incredibly accessible. It was a very personal place.

As the demolition spread to destroy more and more of the area, the group began a series of collaborative and individual artworks across the houses all around the space.

Cliff [from the Golden Lake Series] Alyisa Kim

Geumho House Paintings Lenny Correa, Jamie Bruno, Junkhouse. Photo by Alysia Kim

Within the next month the majority of the neighborhood was demolished, along with these artworks. We understood our projects were transient but we all intuitively agreed on the importance of participating with Guemho, no matter how long they would last. Our actions there opened us as a group to our own agency in space. Our activities there question identity, responsibility and role.

2. Space Beam

As a group, we felt an immediate connection towards Space Beam’s endeavors to enrich the community through artistic practice and additionally towards their critique of public space through Eco-Park.

Animal Invaders Baedari 360 [Soomi Park & Jamie Bruno]

The Baedari area is currently a point of contention between developers, residents and the municipal government. It is the right of the inhabitants to claim ownership to the area that they live in and to have a stake in its future. In addition to connecting the community to art Space Beam acts as a progressive, intelligent voice on behalf of the Baedari residents.

The process of developing an exhibition for Space Beam began in July and was quite slow. At the time, we were around 8-16 people–a casual group of friends. Some of us had only known each other for a few weeks. As a whole, we were more used to watching films and sharing music and ideas than conceptualizing together, in a public way. Geumho was improvisational and spontaneous, but organizing a project was much different. However, we realized we had a similar value system, and it was from here that we developed our way of working.

Naturally, we focused on themes and methods that were already close to us: collaboration, inclusion, accessibility, and the space of the city. But we were split. Some wanted a theme that dealt with space and power. Others wanted to avoid politics all together. We scheduled a series of short collaborative experiments.

… working on some collaborative sketches

These experiments were integral to developing our process and were essentially rough collaborative sketches of the work that was to come. Additionally they built trust and allowed a better understanding of each other’s personal methods. Despite this it still took us a month of debating to realize our concept, and then another month to consider how to execute the works. There was a struggle between process and form. We were interested in the possibility of random participation of visitors and discovering a method that would exhibit the process itself. We ended up with a way of working that drew more from our methods in Geumho than from the typical artist-gallery relationship.

… working in the gallery

3. Cadavre Exquis

Cadavre Exquis is a drawing and writing game made popular by the Surrealists in the early 20th century. Each player takes turns writing or drawing on a piece of paper. They conceal their work with a fold, revealing only a tiny portion for the next player to add onto until completion when the entire page is revealed. The name originates from the first phrase of the first time the Surrealists played the game: Cadavre Exquis boira le vin nouveau. (“The exquisite corpse will drink the new wine.”) The work, “CX House” was meant to introduce the form to visitors of the exhibition in a way that would allow them to participate in it.

CX_House 킬mont Family

There was another reason the game was important to us. Construction is a prevailing aspect of Korea; very few buildings remain conserved and untouched. Therefore, Cadavre Exquis also became a metaphor for the patchwork space of the city and the various forces at work on it and inside it. Our installation process reflected this aspect of the city as always in progress, constructed from a juxtaposition of ideas and a complex set of situations.

We scheduled what Eric Davis described as a ‘soft opening’ for October 10th, a more intimate block party, barbeque, and workshop day meant to introduce the community to our ideas.

Eric Davis & Sam Grey’s collage workshop

After the opening, we planned for a time when the gallery would remain relatively empty, with some pieces removed and relocated and later others sporadically added. For our closing we scheduled an event where all the works could accumulate together with music and performance for a celebration on the 24th. This event was purposefully more public and open.

Jamie Bruno’s Blind Spot Drawing workshop

…images from Cadavre Exquis Closing Party

The Chicken and the Wife [musical performance] Veronica Lee

Afterward Cadavre Exquis was extended until mid-November. We finished removing all the works and cleaning the space on the 15th.

4. Overheard

The train will be here long after your art.

We ask: Whose art?

The 랔mont Family’s art? Of course it will, purposefully so.

Space Beam’s art? We certainly hope not.

Who’s in charge here? Who can I go to? How is this organized?

No one is in charge. Or, we all are in charge. We don’t function hierarchically. In our group, people take responsibility as necessity demands depending on personal tempers, skills, and experience. We communicate with each other often and delegate each other to get things done. Our organization is chaotic and intuitive.

I feel like art in Korea is just an excuse to have a party.

Having a variety of different perceptual environments for visitors to Cadavre Exquis was a priority of ours. Cadaver Exquis was open for viewing almost daily in a more reserved social environment and we balanced this mood with two events, one purposefully more intimate and the other more public. That said, the function of these events weighs heavy on our exhibition and has substantial importance.

Parties and events bring people together and get people sharing and talking. They offer way of viewing and experiencing art that can be a more inclusive and accessible.  This informal environment does not take away from the integrity of the works, but it helps to minimize the gap  between the artist and the viewer. This kind of viewing experience arguably might not work for all types of art but we feel it was appropriate for the 칼mont Family due to the fact that many of the works in the exhibition were either interactive or required the participation of people for completion.

The Block Party and the Closing Party allowed more people to experience Space Beam and Cadavre Exquis than they would have alternatively and it was a great way to get people from different backgrounds to communicate and experience the works and performances together.

Cadavre Exquis was the first time our group has made work publicly, and we are grateful for Space Beam’s openness to our unconventional exhibition.

For more information about the 칼mont Famiy and the Cadavre Exquis participants visit