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Theme Interview

Art, the Language that Expresses Freedom, Artist Edgar Endress

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Art, the Language that Expresses Freedom

Artist, Edgar Endress


Edgar Endress (“Edgar,” 51 years old), an art professor at George Mason University in the United States, has been teaching at the Incheon Songdo Campus for one year. He introduces himself as an “artist” before a professor. To him, art is something that expresses things that cannot be expressed in words. We listened to his story about the diverse world of art he has built up and his life in Incheon.



# Incheon, an ‘artistic space’ that cannot be expressed in words

To Edgar, Incheon is like an art that cannot be expressed in words. Six months ago, when Edgar first arrived in Incheon, everything was ‘empty.’ He did not have any friends in Incheon, and the place he was staying was empty. For the past six months, he has been slowly filling that space.


- Finding Baroque(his work)


Recently, there was an incident where he was touched by Incheon. He is a native of Chile, and he recently went to Thailand on vacation and visited Indonesia. Edgar was in an awkward situation as Chileans were not allowed to enter the country due to COVID-19 regulations. “The airport staff took my passport, asked for money, and treated me inhumanely. I immediately took a plane to Incheon. As soon as I arrived in Incheon, I explained my situation to the staff at the airport. I felt that I was treated respectfully by the staff who listened to my story until the end.”


To him, Incheon is like a safe home. On the bus from the airport to his place in Songdo, Edgar said he felt like he was going home. “Incheon is a global city open to various cultures and races. That gives artists a sense of security and a lot of inspiration.”


# Finding the language called art amidst oppression and fear

For Edgar, art started as an expression of 'fear and repression.' In 1970, when he was born, President Salvador Allende established a socialist government through an election in Chile for the first time in the world. Augusto Pinochet came to power three years later through a military coup, and a full-fledged dictatorship began. Ultimately, Chile lost its freedom of speech and art until 1990. There was only one TV channel, and people lived in fear and horror. At the time, many people died, were tortured, or went missing. It was impossible to freely express any opinion. As a child, the only way to listen to news about Europe and Asia in Chile was through shortwave radio. People expressed themselves by encrypting words (hidden transcript). Art has become a way of secretly showing and expressing emotions under oppression and fear. The situation of the times, when it was impossible to express oneself through speech, taught him a new language, art.


# Silent cries from all over the world, blooming through art

Edgar is spreading the seeds of art worldwide, including an exhibition of his works in Paris, France, in April this year. He is currently continuing his personal work in Korea. It is a collaborative work that captures Edgar's world by adding color over black and white images based on the theme of classic Korean books and textbooks. “I am also interested in the issue of poverty among old adults in Korea. I want to express the issue through art in the future.”


- A collaborative work that captures Edgar's world by adding color over black and white images

based on the theme of classic Korean books and textbooks

 


Edgar has worked on numerous art projects over the years. Among those works, he chose the Making White House project he carried out in Colombia as the most memorable project. More than 100 people participated in this project, and it influenced many people as a platform for survival under oppression made of bed sheets. He also mentioned the “Petit Papier” project consisting of writings by prisoners in Haiti. In Haiti, many prisoners are imprisoned on false charges due to the absence of electronic systems. It is said that the only way they can represent their opinions is to write them down on a note and send it to someone. Prisoners writing their injustice on paper caught Edgar's eyes.


 

- Making White House Project


We asked if he was not afraid to visit dangerous places for art's sake. He answered without hesitation, “I already have a lot of experience in dangerous places. I am not afraid to visit anywhere in the world for the sake of art.” Throughout the interview, we could feel his passion and seriousness about art.

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