Features / Review

MIND MAP_Gallery Director Interview - part1(G Gallery, Gallery Gwangmyeong/OneFifth, Gallery2)

posted 31 Aug 2023

In a thoughtful examination of contemporary art, curator Lee Daehyung met with 13 gallerists to explore their views on art, life, and the relevance of their chosen artists today. These conversations inspired the second edition of Dialogue, leading to the exhibition Mind Map. Focusing on the artists' philosophical and humanistic viewpoints, the exhibition uncovers the profound thoughts shaping their work. Lee skillfully extracted the gallerists' mind maps, offering a vivid depiction of their philosophical thinking. "13 Inner Views" transcends a mere interview series; it's a shared journey into the core beliefs and artistic values that resonate in our era. Inviting viewers to engage with contemporary art on a deeper level, the critical comments from each gallerist serve as a significant and accessible exploration of art's meaningful dimensions.

1. G Gallery

CHUNG Seungjin (G Gallery) X LEE Jungmin

“In the age of new media, where the rapid evolution of technology is inescapable, interest gravitates towards media art, particularly as it grows in concert with advancements like metaverse and NFTs. Artist LEE Jungmin stands as a bold contrast to this trend, honoring the simple yet essential tool of PowerPoint, creating her unique chronotope that defies the new media's paradoxical directions. Amidst the dazzling display of daily technological innovations, Lee's work is a refreshing pursuit of the classic, a stubborn homage to the basic. Her art can be metaphorically likened to a "slow-walking cow traveling a thousand miles," a "time collector who digs one well deeply," and the pursuit of "finding the most authentic self." - CHUNG Seungjin (G Gallery Director)

Lee Jungmin's artwork explores the concept of time, delving into the realm of time-based art. She challenges the notion of the present by emphasizing repetition and the infinite through her use of PowerPoint Programs to construct buildings, roads, and pillars by layering lines and drawing plants. Lee achieves a three-dimensional perspective by stacking and drawing architectural elements such as walls, corners, columns, and doors with her computer mouse and appropriating two-dimensional images inside her computer screen. The fragmented images undergo metamorphosis during the editing and saving process, acquiring additional layers that alter their essence. Through this parallel approach, Lee conveys the passage of time and produces a flow of time that deviates from the external world, touching upon the theory of special relativity. Lee's subjective clock makes imprecise and ambiguous time for objects but reads the time of objects from various spaces, reiterating and juxtaposing them on one screen. Her artistic intention is not limited to a single image but is a process of forming an image through PowerPoint animation techniques, offering the viewer an experience of the artist's perception of time.

In this exhibition, Lee focuses on relative temporality by juxtaposing and overlapping locations and objects of different contexts without establishing relationships between the flow of space and objects. This diverges from her previous illustrations of the change in the flow of time when the conscious becomes aware of the formerly mundane and ordinary room. Although each space in her artwork elicits the process of 'becoming aware' and moments of psychological change, narratives are absent, and the focus is on reproducing multiple co-existing spaces and perspectives. This serves as a potent reminder that even the most minor and seemingly insignificant aspects of our surroundings can be utilized to produce a captivating outcome.

Lee's artwork involves a detailed and in-depth presentation of the phenomenon of co-existence between various experiences, involving the time spent experiencing the site firsthand, the time spent creating the artwork, the running time, and the time spent viewing the artwork. The space of experience accumulates during the duration of the video and is formatted into 'the selected and eliminated space,' 'the objects that travel while possessing their own time,' 'the analog work method,' and 'the sharing of time through interactions with the viewers.' In this manner, she probes into the intricate nature of memory as a dynamic and multilayered construct perpetually shaped by our personal experiences and subjective interpretations. This viewpoint motivates us to pursue a deeper and more philosophical comprehension of the constantly evolving interplay between memory, perception, and the human experience.

Through her artwork, Lee uses a digital medium to create analog pieces that require intensive labor, encouraging us to reflect on the intersection of digital and physical realms. She blurs the boundaries between the two, challenging our perceptions of reality and representation. Moreover, by transforming her recollection of moment and space into a universal space that can be shared by all, she invites us to reconsider how we experience and interact with the world.

수정_이정민, 〈수집된 시간-한강〉, 2020, 파워포인트 애니메이션, 55” _ Lee Jungmin, Collected Time-Hanriver, 2020, Powerpoint animation, 55”.jpg
Lee Jungmin, Collected Time-Hanriver, 2020, Powerpoint animation, 55”

2. Gallery Gwangmyeong/OneFifth

KWON Ilsoon (Gallery Gwangmyeong/OneFifth) X CHOI EunChul

“I find profound admiration for art that effortlessly reflects our contemporary perspective while evoking empathy and prompting profound contemplation. Appreciation of such art is amplified when it touches us on multiple levels, engaging both our hearts and minds. Choi Eunchul's art deeply resonates with me, unveiling the accumulation of time often obscured amidst our hectic lives. Each piece serves as a poignant reminder of both the past and the present, inviting us to introspect. Just like the subject matter of his art, 'sugar,' Choi's artistic identity blends seamlessly with his creations. His unique desires and expressions radiate clarity, akin to sugar's distinctive taste amid sincerity and cheerfulness. His art assumes a crystalline form, encapsulating a myriad of emotions and profound meanings, leaving a lasting impression on all who behold it.” - KWON Ilsoon (Gallery Gwangmyeong/OneFifth Director)

Choi Euncheol is a multifaceted artist whose work spans South Korea and Germany. Through drawing, installation, and video work, Choi addresses the complex entanglement of multiple issues, primarily concerning polarization in modern society. His art visualizes the similarities between climate change, impractical political confrontation, social polarization, and the gapped confrontation within oneself, while also unveiling the darkness of environmental issues. Whether working on solo projects or collaborative experimental endeavors with Korean and German artists, Choi adeptly navigates the complexities of the modern world.

One of Choi's most striking series is Melted Artifact I, II, III. This series presents metaphorically resonant objects of pottery artifacts that contained the first metal type of the Joseon Dynasty discovered underground during urban development in Seoul. Pottery, composed mainly of the soil that forms land, symbolized the status and authority of the owner through their tableware and storage containers in the past, reflecting the hierarchy depending on its manufacturing technique and decorative outcome. Choi reimages this poetic heritage by examining the many layers of symbolism inherent in pottery and adeptly utilizes it to comment on the unresolvable gap between the past and the present, reinforcing it with the use of sugar, a material variable with pottery, to epitomize the sweet darkness of the exploitation of the invisible labor force.

During the exhibition, Choi gradually melts the sugar pottery with halogen lighting for the audience to witness its dissolving time, and archives the morphological transition through multiple exposure photography techniques. The physical properties slowly melt in ambiguous layers onto the ground to visually demonstrate the inherent temporality of the artifact, simultaneously exemplifying a process of deconstruction of artifacts as it returns to the earth from when it was first unearthed. Choi characterizes the collapsing form of the artifact as an act of return to nature, ultimately insinuating the allegorical collapse of status or power. Through his work, Choi exhibits his awareness on the role of art in contemporary context: engaging, complex, artistically, and culturally relevant, yet most importantly, in its ability to release a powerful statement of truth and on the fragility of life.

수정-최은철, 〈역사적이지 않은 유물〉, 2022, 설탕, 이소말트, 설탕 캐스팅, 가변설치 _ Choi Euncheol, unhistorical Artifact, 2022, Sugar, isomalt, sugar casting technique, Variable dimensions.jpg
Choi Euncheol, unhistorical Artifact, 2022, Sugar, isomalt, sugar casting technique, Variable dimensions

3. Gallery2

JUNG Jaeho (Gallery2) X PARK Ju Ae

“In an age where art frequently bends to the whims of trend and fashion, PARK Ju Ae’s creations stand resolute, a testament to unfiltered reality and brutal honesty. Her work is an open book, each page a raw fragment of her life, presented without embellishment or deception. Her practice showcases her unique ability to communicate with a straightforwardness that strikes to the heart, complemented by a wit that cuts and charms in equal measure. Her art is a beacon in a nebulous landscape, a clear and unwavering light that invites us to engage with the very essence of humanity. Here, you will find no pretense, only the compelling force of "excessive honesty" coupled with razor-sharp insight. Allow yourself to be drawn into Park's world, where art does not merely observe but dialogues, connecting with viewers on a deeply personal level.” - JUNG Jaeho (Gallery2 Director)

Park Ju Ae's surrealistic paintings of animal and human hybrids and her stuffed dolls are motivated by her self-conflict and self-deficiency. She seeks to break away from the conventional techniques of painting that characterize detailed lines and simulated shapes of her subjects. During her residency in New York, she experienced solitude and alienation, which led her to create dolls of people she missed using canvas fabric and cotton fillings. Her yearning for a child was modeled with soil, which became the birth of her totemic pottery work.

In this exhibition, the artist aims to overcome her fear of painting by exploring her surroundings, particularly adopting Gotjawal in Jeju Island as her metaphor. Gotjawal is an abandoned, uncultivatable land made of irregular rock formations created by lava flows from volcanic activity. It materializes a forest of unique vegetation where various animals and plants coexist, such as moss and bushes. Park personifies Gotjawal and resonates with it on her canvas as she associates the complexity of her thoughts and her strong desire for painting with nature's disorder and Gotjawal's resilient vitality that outshines the cascading vines and moss adhered to the rock.

As a native of Jeju Island, Park's depiction of nature naturally leads to expressions of herself, wherein she unravels this connection to nature with a three-dimensional approach. She bends wires to execute stems and sews up leaves with cloths to reproduce the traits of vines commonly seen in Gotjawal in three dimensions before describing the lines and forms of nature directly onto the canvas. The painting is dominated by Gotjawal's trees, complicated vines, and dark shades of black, blue, and green, figuratively exposing the artist's inner emotions and apprehensions about creating. Park's expansive interest in mediums and their expressive process is her means of rising above life's obstacles as she continues to broaden her mediums and genres to narrate her personal anecdote.