Tue September 27 - Mon October 31, 2022

mago leymusoom: heesoo kwon

re.riddle is pleased to present, Mago Leymusoom, a solo exhibition of new work by multidisciplinary artist Heesoo Kwon from September 22 to October 31, 2022. The opening reception is on Thursday, September 22 from 5:00 - 7:00 PM at 201 Guerrero Street in San Francisco.


Where investigation of ancestral healing, queer bodies and the metaverse converge, we find a roadmap to the work of Heesoo Kwon.

In her solo exhibition, Mago Leymusoom, Heesoo Kwon reclaims the matriarchal origin story of Magohalmi (???? or Mago ??), a powerful female deity from Korean shamanic mythology. Mago is the creator, progenitor and sovereign of humanity, nature, and all geographical formations. However, during the patriarchal period of the Joseon Dynasty (1392 - 1910), there was a shift in the imaging of Mago to that which was reductive and debased. The celestial creator became a marginal deity and in some folk tales recharacterized as a monstrous troll-like caricature. From Lilith of Judaic mythology to Medusa born out of Greek mythology, the demonization of feminine archetypes has its roots in the history of patriarchal culture.

Kwon peels away patriarchal retellings of this Korean ecofeminist deity by seamlessly infusing it with Leymusoom, her autobiographical feminist religion and queer digital utopia initiated in 2017. Through a deeply personal exploration into her female lineage, Kwon simultaneously reclaims the story of Mago with her own body, linking herself and the divine to the power of her female ancestry. She realizes the Mago myth via her mother as well as her own avatar in the Leymusoom shrine (her home studio in SF at the time of production). Conceptualizing a parallel framework, Mago creates the world through giving birth, whilst Kwon's mother gives birth to her, expanding the universe in the process.

Mago Leymusoom reveals itself at a time when agency is actively being stripped away from childbearing bodies. What institutional mechanisms and knowledge structures that yield power on to social bodies may be discerned from Kwon's investigations? Moreover, what power can we find in Kwon's Leymusoom, which seeks to unbind female ancestors and contemporaries alike from narrow classifications through a process of what she refers to as "molting"? Purposefully, the term "molting" in Korean can also be translated as 'to break from tradition' - and in the context of Kwon's female ancestors - becomes a gesture of empowerment. Using lenticular light boxes, photography, video and digital collages, Kwon invites all to initiate their own relationship to Leymusoom, centering themselves as they undergo their own metamorphosis in the metaverse.

Analogous to the ways in which Mago perpetually creates, evolves, and equilibrates, Kwon's Mago Leymusoom asks us to examine the discursive traces and systems established by the past so we may rewrite our own history of the present.

~~~~~~~~

On October 12th re.riddle presents, In Conversation: Heesoo Kwon x Andrea Nitsche-Krupp, an artist and curator talk in conjunction with Mago Leymusoom, solo exhibition by Heesoo Kwon in San Francisco.

Andrea Nitsche-Krupp, Assistant Curator of Media Arts at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) speaks with contemporary artist Heesoo Kwon about Leymusoom and her creative practice. Please join us!
re.riddle is pleased to present, Mago Leymusoom, a solo exhibition of new work by multidisciplinary artist Heesoo Kwon from September 22 to October 31, 2022. The opening reception is on Thursday, September 22 from 5:00 - 7:00 PM at 201 Guerrero Street in San Francisco.


Where investigation of ancestral healing, queer bodies and the metaverse converge, we find a roadmap to the work of Heesoo Kwon.

In her solo exhibition, Mago Leymusoom, Heesoo Kwon reclaims the matriarchal origin story of Magohalmi (???? or Mago ??), a powerful female deity from Korean shamanic mythology. Mago is the creator, progenitor and sovereign of humanity, nature, and all geographical formations. However, during the patriarchal period of the Joseon Dynasty (1392 - 1910), there was a shift in the imaging of Mago to that which was reductive and debased. The celestial creator became a marginal deity and in some folk tales recharacterized as a monstrous troll-like caricature. From Lilith of Judaic mythology to Medusa born out of Greek mythology, the demonization of feminine archetypes has its roots in the history of patriarchal culture.

Kwon peels away patriarchal retellings of this Korean ecofeminist deity by seamlessly infusing it with Leymusoom, her autobiographical feminist religion and queer digital utopia initiated in 2017. Through a deeply personal exploration into her female lineage, Kwon simultaneously reclaims the story of Mago with her own body, linking herself and the divine to the power of her female ancestry. She realizes the Mago myth via her mother as well as her own avatar in the Leymusoom shrine (her home studio in SF at the time of production). Conceptualizing a parallel framework, Mago creates the world through giving birth, whilst Kwon's mother gives birth to her, expanding the universe in the process.

Mago Leymusoom reveals itself at a time when agency is actively being stripped away from childbearing bodies. What institutional mechanisms and knowledge structures that yield power on to social bodies may be discerned from Kwon's investigations? Moreover, what power can we find in Kwon's Leymusoom, which seeks to unbind female ancestors and contemporaries alike from narrow classifications through a process of what she refers to as "molting"? Purposefully, the term "molting" in Korean can also be translated as 'to break from tradition' - and in the context of Kwon's female ancestors - becomes a gesture of empowerment. Using lenticular light boxes, photography, video and digital collages, Kwon invites all to initiate their own relationship to Leymusoom, centering themselves as they undergo their own metamorphosis in the metaverse.

Analogous to the ways in which Mago perpetually creates, evolves, and equilibrates, Kwon's Mago Leymusoom asks us to examine the discursive traces and systems established by the past so we may rewrite our own history of the present.

~~~~~~~~

On October 12th re.riddle presents, In Conversation: Heesoo Kwon x Andrea Nitsche-Krupp, an artist and curator talk in conjunction with Mago Leymusoom, solo exhibition by Heesoo Kwon in San Francisco.

Andrea Nitsche-Krupp, Assistant Curator of Media Arts at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) speaks with contemporary artist Heesoo Kwon about Leymusoom and her creative practice. Please join us!
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