Pang Hyo-Sung – Performances during Nine Dragon Head Symposium 2011

Emotional tension

Dieser Text entstand im Nachgang zu dem von Annelise Zwez mitorganisierten Nine Dragon Heads-Symposium, das vom 12. bis 21. Oktober 2011 in Biel stattfand. Mehr Infos dazu: auf oder auf facebook  auf der Seite „Nine Dragon Heads“.

Es ist ihr erster öffentliche Text in englischer Sprache. Sie bittet um Nachsicht für sprachliche Unregelmässigkeiten.


Statement for Pang Hyo-Sung, performing artist, from Annelise Zwez, art critique, Biel/Bienne  – Switzerland (


I had the chance to get to know Pang Hyo-Sung during the Nine Dragon Heads-Symposium in Biel/Bienne in Switzerland in October 2011. As the international Symposium with 25 artists from all over the world met a strong accent on performance, Pang Hyo-Sung had several occasions to perform in public space.


Already during the performance on occasion of the inauguration of the Symposium, I was astonished and impressed about the emotional tension Pang Hyo-Sung  could create with  the modest things he used: A white shirt, a pair of scissors, a needle, a thread, a tomato. He cut the shirt on the level of the heart and sewed it again, took the red tomato – symbol of love – caressed it, gave it to spectators to do the same, eat of it and rubbed it into the injured and resewed shirt. The titel of the performance, „therapy“,  allows the interpretation that Pang Hyo-Sung wanted to give us with his performance a possibility to overcome pain with love. No words were necessary, we all understood what was going on and felt the strong impact of the act of performing.


Performance has many faces. A European artist might not dear to perform in the way of Pang Hyo-Sung. Unfortunately the aspects of „positive thinking“, of „healing“, of „moral“,  of Christianism also – all present in Pang Hyo-Sungs performances –  are very much expelled of the actual art scene in Europe. Conceptualism, political impacts and other critical aproaches to the world are far more in discussion. This is one of the reasons, why „therapy“ of Pang Hyo-Sung with its existential vision will remain in my memory and  – I am sure – also the one of the visitors on the spot.


Pang Hyo-Sung is a performer from top to toe. We could not communicate a lot with words – corean english is for Europeans not easy to understand – but the longer the Symposium lasted, the more I could understand him. His presence in his performed „pictures“ was the language,  be it gay as on the Central Place – where almost all artists of the Symposium performed on october 15th – or with a clear impact on our existence. On the Central Place Pang Hyo-Sung acted out as if he were a guest from another planet – in a improvised brownish gown with yellow paper flowers (made be Yoo Joung Hye) around his head, some sort of intergalatical sensor on his forehead and a funny „pistol“ to send out soap bubbles. The titel says what was obvious during his walking-tours on the great and open public square: „Hey, Mr. Biel“. The spectators followed him with their eyes, friendly and laughing. So Pang Hyo-Sung contributed in an essential way to the good atmosphere of the successful event.

I personally was impressed by the friendlyness and yet 100% presence of the artist. He was a perfect actor on the theater of a global communication without words.  Presence is difficult to describe because it is not only dependend on visibility, but on energy, on the artists believe in the vision of his performance.


Humour was not absent in his piece in the great Performance „artist to artist“ the final day of the Symposium at the beach of the lake of Biel/Bienne, but the story behind it was more then just a „hello, nice to meet you“. Pang Hyo-Sung found on the spot an empty, iron box, used during the summer  to separate pet-bottles and other rubish. Worn black with a reflecting organge weste, a surgical mask and  a yellow ballon he squeezed himself into the solid wire-mesh-box and told all visitors around to fill up the box with any rubish. So on the one hand he met himself on the level of rubish – men are of no worth on this earth, although they think they are. But with the yellow ballon he continously filled with air and that became bigger and bigger, he signalised at the same time that he acts on a metaphoric level and that there is hope to escape the rubish box. A performance to think on.

Again it was the serious, conscious and theatratical way of performing that made of the performance a piece of art that has a intentional vision, but is very close to man at the same time.