Martin Asbæk Gallery is proud to present Halmang, Jane Jin Kaisen’s first solo exhibition in the gallery. The presented artworks all derive from Hado village in Jeju Island, Korea, the hometown of the artist’s grandparents and a place she has returned to multiple times over the last twenty years.
Photography David Stjernholm

The sea, gendered labor, and spirituality play a key role in the exhibition, which revolves around questions of the interconnectedness between environmental and social sustainability.

The eponymous video work Halmang (2023) was created with a group of haenyeo women sea divers in their 70s and 80s and filmed near a shamanic shrine for the wind goddess Yongdeung Halmang. It was also from this area that Kaisen’s grandmother during her lifetime used to depart for the sea as a haenyeo. In Jeju, shamanic goddesses are called ‘halmang’. It is also the term for ‘grandmother’ and a respectful form of address for a woman. With the title Halmang, Kaisen points to the connection between spirituality and female labor, drawing from her own family history and the current generation of haenyeo presented in the video.

Presented alongside the video work Halmang is a selection of photographs from Calling, an ongoing series that Kaisen began in 2011 when she started observing and documenting shamanic rituals in Jeju Island. Several of the photographs portray late Shaman Koh Sunahn of Hado village. After Koh passed away in 2019, her daughter Song Youngme, who now serves as the acting shaman of the village and who is one of the very few hereditary shamans left to recall and transmit the distinct cosmology of Jeju Island, asked Kaisen to document the village’s diminishing shamanic rituals. The haenyeo sea divers are among the main observers of shamanic rituals in Hado, exemplifying the connection between spirituality and the sea.

The exhibition also presents photographs from the series In Storm’s Fold (2023, in collaboration with Guston Sondin-Kung). Portrayed centrally in the works is sochang, a long white piece of cotton cloth. The cloth, which recurs in the video work Halmang, is used in shamanic rituals and has deep spiritual meaning symbolizing the cycle of life and death and human’s connection to the spirit world. However, while being a carrier of memory, Hado, like other rural villages in Jeju Island, is also a space marked by rupture and discontinuity. The haenyeo sea divers and other long-term residents have sustained themselves from a close relationship with the island’s natural environment, but this vocation, along with the island’s shamanic practice, are on the verge of disappearance due to modernization, climate change, mass tourism, and real estate speculation. And with the exhibition, Kaisen asks what kinds of intricate knowledge, world views, social relations and practices are at risk of vanishing alongside them.

Jane Jin Kaisen (b. 1980, Jeju Island, Korea, lives in Copenhagen) is a Danish visual artist, filmmaker, and Professor of the School of Media Arts, The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. Kaisen has received the Beckett-Prize (2023), a New Carlsberg Foundation Artist Grant (2023) and a 3-year work grant from the Danish Arts Foundation (2022). She represented Korea at the 58th Venice Biennale with the film installation Community of Parting (2019) and was awarded “Exhibition of the Year 2020” by AICA – International Association of Art Critics, Denmark for the exhibition Community of Parting at Kunsthal Charlottenborg.
Kaisen has exhibited her work in a wide range of contexts internationally. Recent solo exhibitions include Reiterations of Dissent at the Jeju 4.3 Peace Park, Korea (2023),  Jane Jin Kaisen: Braiding and Mending at The Image Centre, Canada (2023), Of Specters or Returns at Le Bicolore, France (2023), Currents at Fotografisk Center, Denmark (2023) Parallax Conjunctures at Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, USA (2021), Community of Parting at Art Sonje Center, Korea (2021). Other recent exhibition and screening venues include Tate Modern, United Kingdom, Haus der Kulturen der Welt and Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Germany, Taipei Fine Arts Museum and Honggah Museum, Taiwan, among others.
Kaisen holds a PhD in artistic research from the University of Copenhagen and MFA from University of California Los Angeles, an MA from The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, and she participated in the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program.