X2, installation, 2009

A story about an invigilator in a gallery who finds her doppelganger in a gallery next to the one where she invigilates, binoculars, and an invigilator. Spectators see the next gallery through a window, which the story has written on, with installed binoculars. Just like the invigilator in the story, the invigilator, who is hired for the period of the exhibition, is only allowed to say 'please do not touch' and 'well, I have no idea' and reads a book in the corner of the gallery.



"What is the most horrifying thing you can imagine to have two identical copies of in the world?" She suddenly asked me. She was in her 20s', a common looking woman who had a round white face with shoulder-length black hair. The only special thing about her was gloomy shadow over her pale eyes. Until she came to talk to me, I had never especially noticed her, such a common looking woman in the gallery. Anyway, she suddenly appeared in front of me and started to unfold a very strange story, which I have never imagined to hear. The rest of the story has been written exactly as she said it. For convenience, I will call her just X.

It was five months ago when X started to invigilate a gallery space in Total Museum. It was not a big deal for X to invigilate the space. All she had to do was spend her days reading a last issue magazine or a boring book sitting in the corner of the gallery. The only thing that she had to ensure was to be invisible in order to help spectators concentrate on the artworks - for example, she had to breathe as little as she could and make herself as small as possible, always wearing dark color dress- and to be inaudible so as to prevent spectators' unnecessarily misunderstanding a work- X was not to present her personal opinion in any situation, but she was allowed to say both 'Please do not touch' and 'Well, I have no idea'. For 5 months, nothing special had happened to X, and it seemed doubtless that anything would not happen after as well. In this way, X had been spending her days more and more invisibly, in deep silence like a particle of dust in the gallery.

  "But, it was on one of these boring days that my life in the space of a moment was suddenly turned upside down", X said in quivering voice. 

One day, she accidentally looks out the window and sees a woman who is smoking a cigarette in the small back garden of Gana Art Center, which is next Total Museum. From behind she looks very bored and lonely. X thinks she must surely be an invigilator too, in Gana Art Center. For some reasons, X is attracted by her, so X keeps her eye on her. At that moment, the woman in the Gana Art Center moves her body a little bit towards Total Museum. "aaahhhhk!" X makes a short and very sharp scream. The spectators in the gallery who did not even noticed that she was there suddenly frown at her. However, they go back to their business of appreciating an artwork. What astonished X was the face of the woman in Gana Art Center. Her. Face. Was. Exactly . Same. As. X's. face! X cannot believe her eyes. There is no doubt she has exactly the same face as X's. The same round white face and same shoulder-length black hair. Exactly, identically alike! X feels such a huge shock, unlike anyone has ever experienced. Now, she feels every single hair standing up on end and her legs begin to shake.   
  From that day, X has suffered from Insomnia. X cannot begin to accept the fact that there are two of her in the same city. X feels like she has had a heart attack and thinks that her existence means nothing anymore. She spends her days in agony and anxiety. X finally concludes that this is not something that she can ignore any longer. She believes it will be better for her to let the woman know X exists and to figure out who is a copy of whom.    
  The next day after she made the decision, she looks for a good time to go and talk to her. X is still wondering how to start conversation. It is at this moment that the woman in Gana Art Center totally turns her head straight towards X and stares at her. Without any expression and without a single movement, she is just staring at X. She even begins to try and say something to X, who is shivering in horror and fear. X tries to read her lips. ' Fo.O.?' After a while, X understands what is going on between them; the woman in Gana Art Center has already known X's existence, and she is now saying to X ' Fuck. Off.' Now, X feels like everything is being absorbed into shinning white light. And then her head aches heavily, as if somebody is hammering a nail into her head. She thinks she may throw up.

"So, I decided to finish everything...." X said to me with empty eyes.

X now is facing a man sitting in the caf? in Gana Art Center who has strong sharp eyes. "You must do this for me. Please attack her face. Do not make a mistake. Squash her face like mashed potatoes. Crush it... Crush it... Until there is nothing left. So that no one will see her face again..." As X talks to him, she bites her lips nervously. And then, after long silence, she opens her mouth again. "Look at my face carefully. This woman has exactly the same face as mine. She even does the same job as me. Imprint my face on your mind and never forget what I look like. There will be no room for a mistake." X stands up after he nods to show he understands everything and slowly staggers out from the cafe.

"It was yesterday that I met him and asked him to eliminate her. I guess everything will be back to normal as before within a week..." X said, giving a cold look at Gana Art Center through the window. She murmured again, "things just happened... there was nothing else that I could do..."

  What X had told me left me very confused, so I wanted to talk with her one more time. I also thought I should ask about the woman in Gana Art Center. However, unfortunately, I could not meet her again after that. She seemed to have completely disappeared. None of the people in Total museum noticed her disappearance. They didn't even seem to remember who X was. 
Whenever I look at Gana Art Center through this window, I always remember X. Also, when I see smoking women in the small garden of Gana Art Center, it has become my habit to watch them until they turn to face me. Where has X gone? And what happened to her in Gana Art Center? The gray building you can just see through the window on the right is Gana Art Center. Can you see the woman who has a round white face with shoulder-length black hair? Can you guess what happened to them? 


* click here to see a blog related to the exhibition for this work. (Korean)

*click here to read Taiwanese version of the story for the show, Live Ammo, Musem of Contemporary Art Taipei (MOCA Taipei), Taiwan (both in English and Taiwanese)


© 2016 BONA PARK