Reincarnation, 2015

Im Heung Soon
Reincarnation, 2015
Three embroidery works, mirror, hair, four-channel sound installation, 12 minutes
Installation view


The artist’s SB12 project builds on previous work with Korean veterans of the Korean and Vietnam wars and research on Korea’s heavy-industry companies in the Middle East and North Africa, both of which focus on the role of men.
Against this historical backdrop, Reincarnation (2015) revolves around a community of Korean women of a similar generation who have lived in Iran for more than forty years. Initially dancers on the foxhole circuit, which provided entertainment for some 300,000 Korean troops in the Vietnam War, the women left in the 1970s, bypassing Korea for a more prosperous Tehran, then known as the ‘Paris of the Middle East’. Whereas most men who went abroad eventually returned to Korea, these women married Iranian men and started families. Im’s two-channel video explores the potential for identification amid temporal, cultural and geographic dislocation. A neighbouring installation includes two embroideries based on rococo style. Made by one of the women while waiting out the Iran-Iraq War (1980–88), the methodical needlework suggests a complex process of internalisation and untold private experience.

This project was part of Sharjah Biennial 12

Artwork Images


Im Heung-soon

Two-channel video installation, 22 minutes, 30 seconds
installation view

Reincarnation Image



Heung-soon, IM

Im Heung-soon’s recent work in documentary film, photography and installation has explored the impact of Korea’s modernisation through engagement with its older generations.