The Daegu Art Factory(DAF) was established in 2013 as a public institution for contemporary art. At first, it started as a tobacco manufacturing plant in 1919 but the factory was shut down in 1999. As it is now, it has been used as an art space since 2008 when it was dedicated to creating an art space in the old downtown area.
The Daegu Art Factory helps citizens enjoy culture and supports and trains artists. For citizens, the Daegu Art Factory holds exhibitions and delivers lectures related to the exhibitions. Usually works by local Daegu artists are on display. Works consist of all media such as painting, photography, film, theater and performance, regardless of genre. The 1st floor to the 3rd floor of the building is for citizens. There is the Exhibition Hall 1, Exhibition Hall 2, Man Gwon Dang – a book lounge –, Galleries, Art Information Center, Theater and Kids’ Space. The 4th and 5th floors of the building are for the artists. There are studios for artists to use as their workspace.
‘Daegu Art Legend: Ri Sang-Choon,’ is one of the notable exhibitions which had been held from June 26 to August 25. The exhibition recalls Ri Sang-Choon(1910~1937)’s historical significance by reconstructing his work by local artists. Ri was an artist, illustrator, and a theater director who was born in Daegu. He was also an anarchist, socialist, communist, dadaist, surrealist, constructivist, and he used art as a means to express his beliefs.
Kim Ki-su, a director of the Daegu Art Factory, gave more details about Ri Sang-choon. Ri lived during the period of Japanese colonial rule. At that time, the Japanese Government General of Korea was in charge of and held art exhibitions. Therefore, it was difficult to portray work that reflected the dark phases of the time, criticized the Japanese imperialism, and longed for the national liberation. Most of the paintings were pure artworks during the period. Contrastively, Ri was fighting for national and liberation through art.
The exhibition title is ‘Daegu Art Legend: Ri Sang-Choon,’ but there were no original works by Ri. The works on display were reproduced by local artists based on the records of the time. Unfortunately, the paintings were lost during the Japanese colonial rule and anticommunism. Because of this, Ri had been forgotten by the people. However, thanks for many art experts, he was brought back into the spotlight. By relying on records, the local artists reconstructed the paintings. Bluebird is one of those paintings. The exhibition broke the perception that we could not hold a show without an artist’s work.
This year, the March 1st independence movement marked its 100th anniversary. We need to reflect on Ri’s spirit to devote and to realize his ideals in his way.