When the South Korean artist Haegue Yang went to see one of her sculptures while it was installed outdoors last year, she was required to strap on a bulletproof vest and a helmet, pass through military checkpoints and leave her phone behind. Finally, just a mile south of North Korea’s border in the Korean Demilitarized Zone, she reached her piece, a roughly five-foot-tall block of gray soapstone with a translucent bird perched atop it.
It is a deceptive artwork. From some angles, the stone resembles a sphere, but it is actually a thinner, lenslike shape, and the bird — a pale thrush, 3D-printed in resin — has been separated from its center, though that, too, can be understood from only certain perspectives. “I knew from the beginning that almost nobody would see it in person, and I think it will be more surveilled than visited,” Yang said, recalling her trip during a video interview here one April morning. “I wanted to make something that is hard to believe but became a fact,” she said.