(몸살) “Body Ache” Art Exhibition in Seoul, South Korea

Image above Lee Seung-hoon’s Plastic Surgery #01 via Korean Herald

Momsal (몸살), literally meaning body ache, examines the body as a site that represents the distress and aches of society. According to the Korean Herald, the exhibition at Sungkok Art Museum (성곡미술관) features six artists four of which are South Korean: Shin Je-heon (신제헌), Lee Sun-haing (이선행), Lee Seung-hoon (이승훈), and Black Jaguar (흑표범), and two from abroad: Sigalit Landau (Israel) and Cui Xianji (China). Above and below are some images of the artwork from the exhibition.

Black Jaguar, Giant–Monster, 2013, 150 x 100 cm, Digital Print

The first image in this post,  Lee Seung-hoon’s Plastic Surgery #01, initially drew me to this exhibition. The marks on the people’s faces in the photographs recall battle paint. Cosmetic surgery is in a way a form of battle paint; it distorts the original likeness so that one can achieve greater success, or so they hope. The melancholic expression combined with the quickly painted child-like marks create a layered view into not just the act but also the person. While looking at Lee’s images I came across an opinion piece written for the New York Times by Han Kang about cosmetic surgery in South Korea. Kang describes looking at the before and after images, “Whenever I look at these pictures, it’s the ‘before’ face that I’m drawn to: the face that has been discarded; the one that has disappeared from the world forever.” Read the rest of Kang’s essay here. If you’re interested in more details, here’s some information from the Economist.

Lee Sun-haing, Place to Rest, 2013

It is easy to become distracted by cosmetic surgery when approaching the concept of the body and South Korea. This exhibition appears to have moved beyond that and addressed further corporeal themes. Alongside the images above, there is a bust of Damien Hirst, a video called Mermaids [Erasing the Border of Azkelon], and more. To see further images you can visit the museum website linked above and there is also an essay in Korean about it here.

I initially found this exhibition through The Korean Herald in “Depictions of ‘body aches’ in modern society” by Lee Woo-young.

Posted: April 16th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Art Review, Body | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

How to Break the Great Chinese Wall Part 2: Never Mind Pollock

Image Source.

A performance at SKMU in Norway recreated by Lilibeth Cuenca RasmussenHow to Break the Great Chinese Wall Part 2: Never Mind Pollock, includes painting with hair and polka dots. Here’s a video.

Her website says, “The weighty wall of art history constitutes a challenge for a new generation of artists. Inevitably, an artist has to clear the relation to his/her precedents and artistic relatives. Cuenca Rasmussen reenacts and deconstructs iconic works and personas of performance art.”

Posted: September 26th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Art Review, Body | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Sunday Morning Coffee [Things I’ve been meaning to read/write about]

Image of Young Jean Lee’s Untitled Feminist Show (source)

Article on Art Radar: nudity to challenge state corruption in China, an interview with Kimsooja (who represents South Korea in the Venice Biennale this year), an interview with Afghanistan’s first female street artist,  and finally, I was thrilled to see an article on Young Sun Han! Hang grew up outside of Chicago (and has since lived all over the world). I had the pleasure of meeting him last year. Some of his work addresses his North Korean heritage.

Last spring I had the privilege of seeing Young Jean Lee’s Untitled Feminist Show at the MCA in Chicago. The experience was shocking, liberating, energizing, and hands down the most intelligent and provoking work I’ve seen on a stage. I also saw a talk with Lee before the performance and met her briefly afterwards, she was humble, intelligent, and gracious. This week I was thrilled to see a piece about her “We’re Gonna Die” on the New York Times. Here’s a clip about it on NYT (I love that the next clip is about Avenue Q) and Lee’s Viemo stream.

I always enjoy immersive art via DesignBoom.

Have you heard of the Museum of Old and New Art in Tasmania? The name of the museum doesn’t revel the content of the collection: sex and death. Here’s an article about it from the New Yorker.

Doosan Gallery in Seoul just opened the exhibition The Next Generation. Someone go take a peak for me!

Five films for those who are involved in the arts via Art Radar. I show Un chien Andalou to my students the second day of class!

Hazel Dooney on the gallery system.

Some portraits on DesignBoom: Kim Jong Il framed in pink,  colorful x-rays, and lego heads.

A little bit of nepotism, my sister just moved to England and started a new blog to document the experience with her stunning photography and marvelous writing. She used to write here.

Posted: August 11th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Art Review, Body, Sunday Morning Coffee, Visual and Critical Studies | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Sunday Morning Coffee [Things I’ve been meaning to read/write about]

Korean Artist Project + Chang Jia

As many of you know, I am currently in East Asia preparing to present at the International Convention of Asia Scholars. Yesterday I left Seoul where I spent time reconnecting with artists and art spaces and discovering new work. One of my first meetings was with Chang Jia on whom I’m presenting next week. We met in 2011 and since then have stayed in touch. In my preparation for our meeting I found a video of Chang  produced by the Korean Artist Project discussing her work. It is five minutes and gives a nice overview of the aims in her work.

Posted: June 21st, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Art Review, Body | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Korean Artist Project + Chang Jia

There Is A Body On Screen!

There Is A Body On Screen!: Reflections on Humanities in Contemporary Computer-aided Art considers the dialogue between the United States and China in the context of computer aided art that represents the body virtually and diversely. The exhibition is co-curated by Hanna Yoo and Frank Yefeng Wang and the artists include Wang, Claudia Hart, and Kurt Hentschläger.

Above is an image from the exhibition’s Tumblr.

If you won’t be in China this summer you can follow along with the exhibition via their Tumblr. According to the website, “This tumblr site operates somewhere between digital exhibition catalogue, blog, site for the audience participation. Curator Hanna will also share back stories behind the organizing process here.”

Museum of the Luxun Academy of Fine Arts, Shenyang, China, May 22 – May 30, 2013, With a special lecture on the opening day

99 Art Center at Fine Arts College of Shanghai University, Shanghai, China, June 20 – July 2013, With a special lecture and class in conjunction with the exhibition

Congratulations, friends!

Posted: June 20th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Art Review, Body | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on There Is A Body On Screen!

Seoul, Hong Kong, and Macao June 2013

Screen shot 2013-06-13 at 1.34.33 PM

via Instagram

I’ll be in Seoul, Hong Kong, and Macao until the end of the month doing research, seeing art, talking to people, and presenting at ICAS8. If you’d like to keep track of what I’m seeing and doing follow me on Instagram and Twitter! Happy June!

Posted: June 12th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Lifestyle | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments »

Jin Xing + Gender Binary

Image via Art Space China

I just finished reading “Jin Xing: China’s Transsexual Star of Dance” a chapter from Celebrity in China edited by Louise Edwards and Elaine Jeffreys. The chapter reviews various writing and interviews about the dance star Jin Xing. In doing so, the authors Gloria Davies and M. E. Davies unfold an analysis of Jin Xing’s experience as a public figure who is a known transsexual in China.

I was struck by the conclusion of the chapter (190-191),”…her gender conformity has enabled the media to narrate her life the way she prefers it: namely, as the story of a talented dancer who achieved fame and success, who ‘cured’ her gender dysphoria to become the woman she had always felt herself to be. This is not a story that challenges the sexual binaries (whether of man/woman, masculine/feminine, straight/gay) that rule our lives. Rather, it is a story that confirms how powerfully those binaries continue to rule our lives.”

The conclusion highlights a cut and dry perspective of gender and sexuality adopted by Jin Xing. It is important to consider that lens in regards to transgender. That being said, to me gender and sexuality are much more messy than that.

Posted: June 5th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Body, Visual and Critical Studies | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Jin Xing + Gender Binary

Famous Faces

via Art Daily

Pictured above, Anton Corbijn poses infront of his photographs of Ai Weiwei (left) and Damien Hirst (right). According to ArtDaily other artists in Corbijn’s series include Gerhard Richter, Alexander McQueen, Richard Prince, Iggy Pop, Anselm Kiefer, Tom Waits, Peter Doig, Bruce Springsteen, Lucian Freud, and Karel Appel.

On another note, Ai Weiwei’s dioramas of his time imprisoned by the Chinese government and don’t forget his new single “Dumbass”.

Posted: May 30th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Art Review, Visual and Critical Studies | Tags: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Famous Faces

Radius: A Sonic Lens

This was originally published on Sixty Inches From Center.

Art platforms that strive to break away from the traditional “white cube” frequently consist of a new kind of physical space transformed into a gallery-like setting. Using a radio broadcasting system, Radius transcends material space and creates an entirely new kind of art platform. Artists occupy the space for two weeks or one month like an on-air residency. Through their time on Radius, artists work with Director Jeff Kolar and Editor Meredith Kooi to schedule broadcasts that experiment with notions of sound.

This January marks Radius’s two-year anniversary. Since its conception, Radius has aired 34 episodes created by 71 individual artists and have released 144 broadcasts on their station 88.9-FM, which is roughly 25 hours of audio. They’ve had three special series, two FM re-broadcast networks (soon that will be three with an online station added to the mix), two exhibition installations, a booklet, a newsprint, and a live concert. In their two years Radius has been prolific to say the least.

Image from Episode 15 by Sarah Boothroyd

When I spoke to Jeff Kolar about Radius and the impact of using radio as an art platform he aptly emphasized the project’s unique public-awareness component. Radio is not only the entertainment unit of the past, but it is also a warning system used when there is a moment of public distress—an escaped prisoner or a tornado hurdling forward about to strike. You know the sound, the loud, twangy pitch that signals a warning. It’s chilling. With that in mind, consider Radius’s very first episode; Michael Woody presented a 09:16 minute long piece called Number Stations 1 and 2. (Number stations are described here but are more or less the radio space between the AM and FM dials.) On the Radius website Woody’s work is described as “a reflection of secrecy, control, and power.” Woody works in variety of art forms that include painting, photography, video, and sound. In Number Stations 1 and 2 there is a static background sprinkled with low double-beeps, and a man’s skewed voice is aired explaining what to do in the case of a bear attack. Alarming phrases are directed at the listener, such as, “Your face is exposed, you’re going to lose half of your face, it’s called degloving” and  “Spread your legs so that you don’t get rolled over by the bear.” It is a matter-of-fact discussion of mauling prevention. Imagine hearing that on the radio. The short description is replayed multiple times in a loop that only alters slightly.

Image from Episode 16 by Gregory Chatonsky

Some of the sound pieces on Radius have a more melodious tone. Episode 16, My Hard Drive is Experiencing Some Strange Noises by Paris native Gregory Chatonsky, is one of the more musical pieces on Radius.  According to the website, Chatonsky’s work “speaks to the relationship between technologies and affectivity, flows that define our time to create new forms of fiction.” At first it sounds like a far-off orchestra tuning its instruments for a performance. In the background there is a fast flap-like rhythm—the pulse of helicopter wings comes to mind. The layer of sound that guides this work calls to mind a bundle of electric sounds in a jar being gently shaken. This work sets a very specific tone. In this instance, the sounds repeat over and over again in a loop, but at first the recurrence is not noticeable.  It is not tiringly repetitive. Instead, the mellow pace and the subtle layers are allowed to unfold, to be gently pealed away and understood.

With its submission requirements, Radius offers a unique opportunity for its various types of artists and, simultaneously, a variety of entry points into the work for the audience. Along with the sound work, each artist that contributes work to Radius must offer a visual component and a written component. The visual component is an opportunity for non-visual artists to present their work in a new format. During our conversation, Kolar said that it is very interesting to watch the non-visual artists break the traditional rules of design that a trained visual artist might follow.

Image from Episode 25 by Nicolaj Kirisits and Klaus Filip et al.

Image from Episode 25 by Nicolaj Kirisits and Klaus Filip et al.

Though based in Chicago, Radius inadvertently became an international art platform. The small community of sound artists network and share artwork on blogs such as Disquiet, free103point9, Modisti, Networked Performance, Networked Music Review, Le Perce-oreilles, and Cultural Flow. Only a handful of the artists that have contributed to Radius are from Chicago. Episode 25, Cultural Morphing, was created by a group of twelve artists for a project in which the artists traveled by train from Vienna, Austria to Shanghai, China. At various points along the journey each artist stopped in a town and recorded sounds. The broadcast for Radius is the score from when the artists reconvened at a dinner in China and shared their sounds. The artwork is an image of the table at the meal. To mark transition through this work a voice, a type of Mrs. Garmin”,  interjects in each scene with what sounds like the name of a city. Sometimes the voice is clearly discernable, though not necessarily in English, and other times the voice is layered under other sounds. Between the Mrs. Garmin markers there are sounds of everyday life in the various stops between Vienna and Shanghai. Bells, horns, chopping, rhythms, traffic, muffled voices, chaos, and calm; none of the sounds seem like they are from a private space, yet they are an intimate invasion into public life, detecting and amplifying the sounds that we do not usually hear because our focus is elsewhere as we walk down a street. What kind of lens does this work provides for viewing culture? While listening it is difficult to distinguish between the plethora of lenses—artist’s lens, culture lens, city lens—they become so indistinguishable that they are muddled together. Not in an uninteresting way, but in a way that blurs the cultures into one heap of sounds and experiences.

Image from Episode 04 by Art of Failure

Throughout a good portion of this listening experience I stared at my computer screen—the place where I released this experience onto my ears with a click of a button. The moving component, the visualization of the sound wave, became an optical guide, map-like, for my listening experience. Consider the contours of the artists’ path compared to the contours of the sound each artist provides for the score. Radius uses the visualization of the sound wave as another entry point into the piece. In one way, it can be seen as a mapping device—making something non-visual visual.

Radius is usually based out of Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood, with a roughly eight-block broadcasting radius, but the transmitter can be solar powered and therefore used anywhere. Last fall Radius participated in Home: Public or Private at 6018 North on the other side of Chicago. Out of the small smattering of works I experienced to write this piece, Episode 31, Joseph Kramer’s piece Porous Notion: Index Fragments and Interpretations, was the most challenging. The concept is fascinating and melds with the mission of the exhibition in which it was presented. That being said, stripped down to just the sound, not considering the concept, title, or imagery, the 30-minute piece demands a specific kind of focus and understanding. Through the duration of the piece incredibly minor variation become exciting and leave some listeners befuddled by their reaction. Navigating the nuances of Kramer’s sounds one becomes desperate for something to follow, to guide the listening experience. The work is incredibly subtle and nuanced. When I heard the piece at 6018 North I thought something was wrong with the transmitter, but it was, in fact, playing properly.

Image from Episode 13 by Mutant Beatniks

When you visit Radius’s website you will notice that the entire site has been designed in black and white. This was not only an aesthetic choice but also a conscious parallel to the radio format. Kolar explained to me that the FM spectrum, in which Radius is broadcasted, is a mono signal opposed to stereo. A stereo file would be played from two channels, the left and right, to mimic the stereo field, but Radius’s FM broadcast cannot reproduce stereo audio signals so the sound is in mono format. The visual equivalent to that is taking away color–hence the black and white.

Though Radius offers a variety of entry points into each piece, Kolar emphasizes the importance of hearing the work in the way it is originally intended—in the eight-block radius on the radio. This month there are five broadcasts of Episode 35, Hugo Paquete’s Radial Transference. Click here to view details about that and Radius’s upcoming broadcasts and events.

All images are courtesy of Radius.

Posted: January 14th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Art Review, Visual and Critical Studies | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Year in Review

Source.

Top highlights of 2012: receiving my MA in Visual and Critical Studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) which involved both a symposium and an art exhibition, starting my teaching job at SAIC, presenting at the (In)Appropriated Bodies conference at Cornell University, starting to write for Sixty Inches From Center, and being invited to present at the International Conference of Asia Scholars in Macau (June 2013).

Below are the top read blog posts from 2012:

1. Master of Arts Visual and Critical Studies Symposium 

2. NYC, April 10, Part I [Sandra Dukic and Boris Glamocanin]

3. Red Gate Reunion Series 2012: Crystal Ruth Bell

4. Landscapes from Pyongyang at Galerie Son in Berlin

5. Just Humans: An interview with Angelica Dass, creator of Humanae  

6. Red Gate Reunion Series 2012: Britt Salt

7. Felix Gonzales-Torres at Samsung Museum in Seoul via ArtDaily

8. Batman, Jaws, and Other Such Characters

9. Red Gate Reunion Series: Jon Hewitt 

10. Sunday Morning Coffee (Quicky)

Thanks for reading! I hope that your 2013 is getting off to a grand start!

Posted: January 3rd, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Art Review, Sunday Morning Coffee, Visual and Critical Studies | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »