The exhibition ‘My Sleep’ is not a nap

“Community of Silences” (2017-19) by Gim Hong-sok. Above the wall is the video work “Form of Sleep” (2022) by Jung Min-sung. [KOREA CRAFT & DESIGN FOUNDATION]

“Korea is a country that traditionally believes that sleep is something that needs to be kept to a bare minimum in order to succeed in society. But sleep is a necessity, and this exhibition aims to explore just that.

During a press preview last week, Yoo Jin-sang, artistic director of the “My Sleep” exhibition, highlighted the importance of getting enough sleep, something most know about, but many also overlook.

The exhibition is held at Culture Station Seoul 284 in Jung District, central Seoul and is presented by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and organized by the Korea Craft & Design Foundation (KCDF).

“Words of a Prophet” (2022) by Ryu Bi-ho [KOREA CRAFT & DESIGN FOUNDATION]

“The name of the exhibition [‘My Sleep’] comes from the fact that although sleep is universal, sleep is also very personal, because it is different for everyone. We hope visitors will have their own first-person experiences seeing the artworks here,” Yoo said.

A total of 19 teams of artists present their works which vary from installations, videos, paintings and even books. Although not in chronological order, the works are arranged according to six themes, each of which identifies a specific time or state during sleep, such as “11:30 p.m. half asleep” or “7:00 a.m. wake up time”.

The first artwork of “My Sleep” is a 12-piece installation titled “Community of Silences” (2017-19) by artist Gim Hong-sok, which features models of people of different ages and professions each wearing a different animal mask in various poses. A panel is placed next to each of them, describing their journey. For example, the model wearing a dog mask would be a truck driver who was “paid to come play” for the Gim installation.

“Dawn and Civilization” (2022) by Choi Jae-eun [KOREA CRAFT & DESIGN FOUNDATION]

“Dawn and Civilization” (2022), a bed of salt partially covered with a blanket of ash, by artist Choi Jae-eun, compares salt to sleep. Since the line between sleep and reality is sometimes vague, salt and ash can be the same way, director Yoo explained, as salt turned into ash simply disappears with even a slight breeze.

Other works can be as simple as “Sleep Book” (2004-22), a series of photographs that artist Choi Yoon-suk took of himself, with the help of his acquaintances, whenever he fell asleep for several years.

“Sleep Book” (2004-22), by Choi Yoon-suk [SHIN MIN-HEE]

“My Sleep” lasts until September 12. Culture Station Seoul 284 is open daily except Monday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Free entry. For those unable to visit the venue, the exhibition is also available online via

BY SHIN MIN-HEE [[email protected]]

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