Showing at Art Sonje Center in Seoul until 13 September 2020, three concurrent exhibitions examine various states of the body—physical and psychological, interior and exterior, and fragmented and whole—through new and recent works by Don Sunpil, Camille Henrot, and Mire Lee.
Although independent of each other, Don Sunpil's exhibition Portrait Fist on the first floor is a fitting introduction to these three presentations, as it focuses on the first thing that people often notice about others: the face. Yet the 24 resin and polyurethane foam busts mounted on tall perches in the show are faceless: features have been replaced with flat surfaces supporting small-scale objects, ranging from a figurine of a young girl (Portrait Fist [no.2], 2020) to a box full of figurine parts (Portrait Fist [no.12], 2020).
A precedent to the 'Portrait Fist' sculptures was exhibited in Kitsutaiten, Don's solo exhibition at Arario Museum in Space, Seoul, last year (20 February–13 June 2019). In addition to approximately 400 action figures on view—many from the artist's collection amassed since he was a teenager—were sculptures and installations including Next backdoor (2019): a pair of grey and light pink busts with flat surfaces for faces.
Don describes the face as a marker of identity, through which assumptions can be made about a stranger's background and even personality. Portraits are never innocent; they are carefully produced constructions. As an image, the artist writes on his blog, the face signifies abstract qualities—abstractions mirrored in the stylised visages seen in anime or cartoons, which mimic the human face but feel closer to objects, as representations that bring together threads of associations.
Editorial Assistant, [Ocula]