Akeroyd Collection


Kang Seung Lee, Garden, 2018

In Garden, a multi-channel video installation, we see how the histories, lives, work and activism of two cultural figures are brought together across different geographies and timeframes. Derek Jarman, (1942–1994) and Oh Joon-soo (1964–1998), both of whom died in the mid-1990s due to AIDS-related complications. The two were also involved in a gay rights movements in their own lifetimes and kept journals of their experiences. Both artists fought oppression and stigmatisation in their own way; Oh Joon-soo used multiple pen names to counter the prejudice of Korean society, and Jarman, instead of building an easy paradise, chose the infertile, barren landscape of Dungeness on the East Coast of England to labour and struggle against the elements in a personal and existential fight against normative values. In the film, across multiple screens, Kang Seung Lee is seen breaking ground in each of their coveted and poignantly charged gardens. Drawings on sheepskin parchment made at each other’s sites are carefully torn and buried under soil taken from the corresponding garden in a gesture of posthumous exchange and kinship. Traces from each now exist as a physical embodiment of the others' struggle, offering the possibility of sprouting seeds and cross-contamination as an act of solidarity and ongoing resistance. There is an ephemerality to the work that belies the strength of the gesture; in time, the parchment will compost down and disappear, but it will in turn enrich the soil, producing the conditions of growth and renewal as it does, taking with it in any new growth the companionship of a transnational ally.

MediumThree-channel video, colour, sound
DurationVarious lengths
EditionUnique edition of 1