Dr. Rhee’s Kimtschi Shop is a complex multidisciplinary project that functioned as a temporary service, providing a cultural exchange between the artist and visitors to the exhibition. The artist’s position as an ethnic Korean, not only as a foreigner to Germany, but also as a transnational American was used as an effective method to complicate the notion of authenticity. The role of Korean-German Hanjo Rhee, as the rational German scientist, reinforced this idea of identity as multi-layered and fluid.
As an interactive performance artwork, it underscored the usage of ethnic food as an amusing and productive means to talk about the contentious foreigner “problem” in Germany, while using bartering as a strategy to compare and problematize the consumption of authentic culture and national identity. The project opened as a temporary pop-up shop for one week in November of 2011 in the project space of Das Gift.
photo credit: Rachel Marsden