The unbearable lightness of baggage

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The unbearable lightness of baggage

This solo exhibition by Kim Min-ji explores the boundary between our memories of and fantasies about the past, through the use of “baggage.” Bags stand as a symbol of travel and temporary freedom, they can also represent a home, or a symbol of self-evolution The exhibition, “Baggage Claim,” which will be held at alternative gallery Miccle in Mapo, includes two installation pieces that work around two short stories Kim Minje has written entitled “Evian” and “My Father is 011.” With interaction between three aspects of the exhibition - the short stories, the installation work, and the response of her audience - the artist’s visuals are supposed to act as a stimulus which triggers the viewer to think back to their past and connect it to the present or even to a fantasy of what the past might have been.
The first story “Evian,” tells of a man who survived an airplane crash and found himself on a mountain covered in snow.
As the only survivor, the man is surrounded by, snow, the sky and bags. At one point in the story, the narration reads: “He threw himself towards the bags as if they were his house,” suggesting that the bags act as a safety net. The passage following this reads, “The man felt terrified as he realized he was the only person on this mountain. As soon as this realization struck him, he hid under the bags.” In the end, the man tries to make a parachute with the bags and the materials inside them. This effort leads to the idea of hope, as the story ends with this sentence, “Even today, Mr. K is trying to complete his machine.” The installation to be displayed at the gallery will be of a model mountain covered with luggage. The things inside the bags are form the image of a parachute.
The second story, “My Father is 011,” is written in a form that is close to a personal essay or diary, in which the narrator finds out that his/her father, had been a top secret agent for the British intelligence agency MI-6. The story follows the thoughts of the narrator on finding out this part of his/her life.
The father, just like James Bond, had a secret code name, 011. He later retired after a failed mission called Maggot and buried a brief case with all the files of his secret life. The installation which goes with this story features a large brief case with a tree growing out from its interior. “The tree can represent many things. However, one thing it stands for is the fact that everyone has secrets sealed inside of themselves and nobody can really understand the full depths of another person,” said Shin Ji-sun, a curator at Miccle.
“Baggage Claim” runs from Nov. 2 to Nov. 14. For information, call (02) 304-6106 or visit

by Cho Jae-eun
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