„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 the Pavillon and „recultivates“ four different digging spots (in northern, eastern, southern and western direction) by piercing the soil repeatedly with a spade. This strenuous and time-consuming agricultural work is done since 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 ineffectivity 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) uuncertainty 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 longer time what’s going on, therefore the artists’s performance is actively decelerating the public life around the Kunstpavillon, making people reflect about the meaning of labor and struggle.
Text : Jonas M. Mölzer
Photo : Bokyoung Jeong