A collaboration with Gallery Kiche
Sep 2 - Oct 1 2022
The title of the exhibition, LINKED, borrows from that of Albert-László Barabási’s book. In his work published in 2002, Barabási proposes “networking” as a scientific methodology and a measurement of thought, as well as a conceptual tool to grasp and understand the entire era with issues ranging from the Internet, the international financial crisis, and infectious diseases. Through extensive research and analysis, he explains that an individual or a nation, regardless of whether or not the subject actively may choose, is located in a tightly connected web at multiple levels (since long ago already). In the same context, deeply reflecting about “networking” becomes an important compass in establishing an approach to locate and grasp contemporary art. This contemplation is where the exhibition LINKED, an exhibition of five Seoul-based artists, begins. This exhibition, held jointly by Func and KICHE, is also a product of “networking”.
Five artists (Ok Seungcheol 玉承哲, Ryu Yaerim 柳叡林, Yoo Jiyoung 劉智映, Lee Byoungho 李炳虎, and Jang Pa 張琶) unfold their various artistic interests and practices ranging from flat pieces such as paintings, reliefs, mirrors, to kinetic sculptures. “Borrowing” and “references” freely interact as direct and indirect sources of inspiration in the process of their artistic production. The artists’ art practices themselves form a complex network in multiple dimensions.
From his first solo exhibition Un Original to the recent solo exhibition Create Outline, Ok Seungcheol persistently follows his aesthetic contemplations and questions about “originality.” He first gathers and reconfigures “JPEG” images created by collecting and recombining scenes from animations, dramas, movies, and memes drifting on the Internet, and places them in various media such as paintings, sculptures, videos, and posters. His characteristically distinct close-up cartoon face images do not remain fixed but rather constantly transform themselves through self-references or self-proliferation. The newly presented paintings and sculptures in this exhibition effectively show how Ok’s works are evolving. For example, Head Statue is a bronze sculpture that has been rendered to look like an old relic. The work’s portion under the neck is treated to seem as if a part of it was forcibly removed. Inspired by the moment when a memorial statue is demolished, the work nods at the recognition that things that were once considered inviolable (such as the original form) can collapse at any moment.
Ryu Yaerim constructs virtual nostalgia with the sentences and phrases from the novels she has read and the narratives associated with the various texts she encounters in her daily life. She defines her work as an intermediary medium that resides somewhere between painting and illustration and uses it as a platform to faithfully unfold her imaginary chronicles. To this end, Ryu minimizes the physical properties of her work by flattening the textures of the brush strokes as much as possible like ink wash paintings. Through the artist’s painting process on wood panels and, more recently, canvases, she captures the unrealistic figures, places, and events both theatrically and delicately. As such is her practice, her paintings are neutral in that while they seem very particular to a specific scene, they remain open to anyone and anywhere. Persistently following the fragments of her fictional stories and events becomes a strange time and space travel to reach the “existent while non-existent (or vice versa).”
By digitizing or systematizing items or spaces, such as clocks, calendars, drawers, and color tables, Yoo Jiyoung brings objects that give structure to rational perception and buttress the framework of our daily lives into her creative practice. The originally intended structure and function of these objects are partially lost. Through the artist's intervention, their purpose and uses are naturally replaced with something else, leaving only the bare minimum physical form. A cupboard hanging on the wall with only its flat outline, for example, transforms itself into an object that lies between a cabinet in a cafe or kitchen and a pictorial work of art; a clock with only the minute hand remaining no longer tells a linear time but weaves words into a sentence.
“Ein,” one of Lee Byungho's early works, visualizes invisible air and time by trapping air inside a mechanical figurative silicone sculpture and repeating contraction and expansion. The work reminds us that the simple rote of extinction and creation is the essential order of nature. In his recent works, Lee deconstructs the original form and re-recognizes it based on its intended imperfections. This compilation of the broken individual units moves away from their fixed uses and continues to renew its originality by recomposing itself depending on the specific time and space. Such creative practice reflects the artist’s attitude toward presenting the work in its fluidity by repeating the process of reproduction in which the original is constantly twisted and reconstructed.
Throughout Jang Pa’s artistic practice, “female subjectivity” remains an important theme. Jang Pa brings to the fore the “feminine traits” that are considered negative in the male- dominated hierarchical system and imbues positivity onto these qualities. While she begins with an exploration of the “feminine,” she reflects on the sensory systems that universalize the feminine perspective and disturb the category of “woman” and carefully chooses the most fitting surface finishes and textures of her paintings. Jang Pa further actively incorporates art historical or cultural iconography into the oeuvre to materialize her artistic interests since her Women/Shape Series (2017).
LINKED takes the premise that nothing can exist alone. The events and phenomena around us, as well as the artists’ creative practices themselves, exist within the dynamics of a “network” that has long expanded and become ever more complex. It is only when we apply this methodology of approaching various “phenomena,” can we not lose our way and faithfully engage with their present and future.
Text. Yun Duhyun, Director of KICHE
OK Seungcheol (b. 1988) lives and works in Seoul. He has held solo exhibitions at Art Sonje Center(2022, Seoul), Space Isu(2021, Seoul) and KICHE(2020, 2018, Seoul) . The artist has staged various group exhibitions Nook Gallery(2022, Seoul), Daejeon Museum of Art(2021, Daejon), The Great Collection(2021, Seoul), Unit London(2020, London), Superellipse(2020, Seoul), Daegu Museum of Art(2019, Daegu) and Platform L Contemporary Art Center (2019, Seoul).
Jang Pa(b.1981) graduated from Seoul National University with a BFA in both Painting and double major in Aesthetics, MFA in Painting. Jang Pa has held solo exhibitions at KICHE(2022, Seoul), IAP Warehouse Gallery(2020, Incheon), DOOSAN Gallery Seoul(2018, Seoul), DOOSAN Gallery New York(2017, New York), Seoul Olympic Museum of Art(2016, Seoul), Makeshop Art Space(2015, Pajju), Gallery Zandari(2015, Seoul), OCI Museum of ART(2011, Seoul), Alternative Space HUT(2009, Seoul). Jangpa has staged and participated in various group exhibitions at Incheon Art Platform(2022, Incheon), D/P(2020, Seoul), Post Territory Ujeongguk(2019, Seoul), Museum of Art Seoul National University(2018, Seoul), Art Space Pool(2017, Seoul), Seoul Museum of Art(2015, Seoul), DOOSAN Gallery Seoul(2015, Seoul), OCI Museum of ART(2015, Seoul), BMOCA(2015, Paju), Seoul Olympic Museum of Art(Seoul) and more.
RYU Yaerim(b. 1994) lives and works in Seoul. She graduated with a BFA painting at Hongik University and she is in MFA painting at Korea National University of Arts. She has held solo exhibition at Show and Tell(2021, Seoul), Art Space Hyeong(2020, Seoul). Yaerim has staged group exhibitions at Doosan Gallery(2022, Seoul), BGA maru(2021, Seoul) and Obertürkheim (2017, Stuttgart). She has been selected as an artist of “Now and Next”, which is a project of Frieze to celebrate the inaugural Frieze Seoul 2022 in Seoul supported by Chanel Korea.
Lee ByungHo(b.1976) graduated from Hogik University with MFA and BFA. He has held solo exhibition at SPACE SO(2021, Seoul), Sangup gallery(2018, Seoul), SPACE SO(2017, Seoul), KICHE(2016, Seoul), T.A.V. Treasure Hill No. 13(2015, Taiwan), Gallery Hyundai_16 bungee(2011, Seoul), Gallery Zandari(2009, Seoul), and Alternative Space of Miccle(2007, Seoul). Lee Byung Ho has staged and participated in various group exhibitions at Nook Gallery(2022, Seoul), SNUMOA(2021, Seoul), 021gallery(2019, Daegu), Seoul Museum of Art(2019, 2015, Seoul), Busan Museum of Art(2019, 2010, Busan), sueno339 SPACE of ART(2017, Seoul), Seoul Olympic Museum of Art(2016, 2012 Seoul), KICHE(2014, Seoul) and more.
Jiyoung Yoo graduated from Hongik University with BFA painting and Slade School of Fine Art with MFA painting. She has held solo exhibitions at Room Project Leeum Museum(2022, Seoul), ThisWeekendRoom(2021, Seoul), Alltimespace(2019, Seoul), Rainbowcube(2018, Seoul). She participated in various group exhibitions at Seoul Art Space Geumcheon(2021, Seoul), Keep in Touch(2021, Seoul), The London Arts Boards(2020, London), 155a(2020, London), Ilwoo Space(2019, Seoul), Muse at 269(2017, London), The Artwall(2016, Athens), Camden People’s Theatre(2015, London) and more.