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Works > Umgraben

at Kunstpavillon München


  „Umgraben“ is a site-specific performance at the Kunstpavillon München, located in the Alter Botanischer Garten. The artist Kay Yoon is preparing herself by putting on an ancient Korean ritual costume. She then steps out of the Pavillon and „recultivates“ four different digging spots (in northern, eastern, southern, and western directions) by piercing the soil repeatedly with a spade. This strenuous and time-consuming agricultural work is done for thousands of years, it helps water penetrate deep into the ground and supplies plants with sufficient moisture and nutrients. The sarcastic aspect of the performance is the work’s ineffective though because nothing is actually planted there. The gesture of „recultivation“ should be rather understood as an act of endurance in a time of  (pandemic) uncertainty where nothing makes sense and the future is weirdly suspended. Additionally, because the Alter Botanischer Garten is a very vivid and diverse place in the middle of the city, the artist’s outfit and activity create a lot of attention and astonishment. People hold in and observe for a long time what’s going on, therefore the artists’ performance is actively decelerating the public life around the Kunstpavillon, making people reflect on the meaning of labor and struggle.

Text: Jonas M. Mölzer



Photo : Bokyoung Jeong


Photo: Lena Engel