Jan Svenungsson

Busan Biennale. Guide book text (unsigned), Divided We Stand, Busan Biennale 2018

With the series of serial works called "Psycho-Mappings" (ongoing, with irregular intervals, since 1995), Jan Svenungsson produces non-intentional predictions of geo-political developments, based on current maps. The method is deceptively simple and fundamentally analog. Selecting a political map of an area of the world, the first image of the series will be a faithful rendering of the original map, using the necessary tools to avoid any mistake. The second image however is a careful handmade copy of the first image. Drawing directly in black ink, the artist cannot make any corrections if something goes wrong.

Psycho-Mapping East Asia (2018), the latest iteration in this cycle of works, is a series of 30 drawings especially produced for the Busan Biennale, one of the images is colorized (the distribution of which color for what country was determined randomly) and transposed onto a large banner on the facade of the Busan Museum of Contemporary Art. Svenungsson states: "Any mistake will stay. My concentration must be very high. When the second drawing is finished, I put the first away, take a new sheet and make the third drawing a copy of the second drawing. Whatever small mistakes and deviations from the original, which happened in the second drawing, have now become part of the new original — thus, when again small mistakes happen, they begin to accumulate. And so on, over all the 30 drawings which in this case make up the series." Inevitably, despite of the artist adhering to the map as best as he can, due to the motoric idiosyncracies implied by this process, the accumulating mistakes result in an increasing distortion. Because it is a political map putting Busan at its center, every line in the map starts to imply an impact on the actual ground.

It is worth remembering that it is now 30 years since the first democratic elections in South Korea were held. This artwork incorporates all of South Korea's neighbors and extends 30 units into the future.