lundi 30 novembre 2020

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Yun Choi’s solo exhibition, Walking the Dead End

November 5 - December 17, 2020, DOOSAN Gallery New York

, Jae Wook Lee

The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted the field of visual arts in unprecedented ways. Museums, galleries, and biennials closed their doors. Events were canceled or put on hold. On the other hand, artists continue to observe the world around them and create art that reflects new social phenomena in this challenging time.

South Korean artist Yun Choi captures and collects everyday objects and images around the streets and popular culture. For her solo exhibition Walking the Dead End, she explores how banal cultural images influence people’s minds, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.
 

An installation view of Yun Choi’s solo exhibition, Walking the Dead End
Copyright © of work : Yun Choi

As the audience walks into the gallery space, the audience encounters small and large sculptures, paintings, photographs, and videos. First, there is a painting on the left wall near the front door, depicting a window opened and the ocean in the background. In the middle of the image, there is a sentence saying, "We are open," which is reminiscent of the post-pandemic text that restaurants and coffee shops often use. Also, a small sculpture stands on the floor. It looks like an alien-looking monster with three legs and a long head. Right behind the small sculpture, there is a large sculpture that looks like a gorilla, carrying plants and a mirror on the back. The audience also can see a couple of abstract paintings on the walls and other small abstract sculptures. Around the corner, a photograph on the wall shows an eye looking through a hole. It seems as if someone hides and carefully observes the outer world from inside. Lastly, on the entire gallery floor, the audience can find many red circles with the image of human feet and texts saying, "Stand Here and Social Distancing." However, many circles overlap, indicating the audience cannot keep social distancing.
 

An installation view of Yun Choi’s solo exhibition, Walking the Dead End
Copyright © of work : Yun Choi

The exhibition provides an overall sense of chaos, non-sense, and disorder. It feels like watching post-apocalyptic movies and T.V. series that have been popular on Netflix this year, such as Bird Box (2018), Into The Forest (2015), and Train to Busan (2016), among others. However, the general tone of the exhibition does not attempt to scare the audience. It instead shows a sense of humor and absurdity in the age of global pandemic. In this sense, Choi’s exhibition resembles the historical Dada in the early 20th century. Dada was formed during the First World War. In 1916 the artists who gathered in Zurich in Switzerland showed a skeptical reaction to what was happening in the world during the war. They devalued the European modernist beliefs such as logic, reason, science, and technology as these inventions killed hundred-thousand people and caused chaos. Dada artists produced irrational, nonsensical, and satirical works. Dada was "anti-art,” showing an attitude that rejected prior definitions of art in general. For example, in 1919, Marcel Duchamp drew a mustache on Mona Lisa’s face. Mona Lisa is a representation of the ideal of beauty and the symbol of Western art. Duchamp also added the letters "L.H.O.O.Q." It is wordplay. In French, it sounds like, "Elle a chaud au cul." That means "Her ass is hot." Like Dadaists, Choi presented a world illogically shifting and re-shuffling in response to the age of the Covid 19 pandemic with a sense of humor. It is a sense of Body without Organs, to use Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s concept of being in a world in which everything has the immense, unending, and finally unrealizable potentiality to re-form itself, to become any other thing.

An installation view of Yun Choi’s solo exhibition, Walking the Dead End
Copyright © of work : Yun Choi