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There is No Beer in Hawaii

March 16 – April 28, 2012

artclub1563, Seoul


The exhibition ‘There is No Beer in Hawaii’ is a story about illusion*. Its title comes from the German schlager song ‹Es Gibt Kein Bier auf Hawaii (There is No Beer in Hawaii)› sung by Paul Kuhn in 1963 because the theme of the song is related to illusion. In the song, there is a man who believes he cannot marry his fiancée as she wants to go on a honeymoon to Hawaii where there is no beer.

Illusion exists everywhere in art. Many artists express their own illusions through their works. Seeing these works, we can experience their life (reality) and the world of illusion. And we also yearn for that world and dream of another world. While it is so called the illusion in art, the illusion in philosophy is still difficult to be defined.

According to Descartes, the illusion of all perceptions is not a simple denial. It is not a lack of reason and truth, but an active manifestation of the illusion of subjective usefulness and that of passions. To put it simply, active illusions are equal to active desires.

While the works of Nayoungim and Gregory Maass have the characteristic of flexibility and have been created in a free atmosphere, the viewers might feel the ambivalence. Their works are founded on a variety of art trends from Pop Art, Neo-Dada, Fluxus and Conceptual Art to Minimalism but they are very introspective as well. Touching several kinds of irony, the exhibition features a range of installation works with various themes ranging from the color ‘brown’ to ‘Hawaii’. Besides, the title itself becomes a separate art work apart from the other works. The exhibition will show a kind of systematic color saturation with a visual and linguistic rhetoric dealing with the illusions the artists incorporate into their works and those the viewers have interpreting these works.

Since 2004, Nayoungim and Gregory Maass have been working together as artist duo and have created the strong artistic synergies by sharing their unique and diverse ideas. The interesting points of the works of Nayoungim and Gregory Maass are based on their subjective illusions. And they do not persuade the viewers with their intention or the meaning of the works. Instead, they have their works catch a variety of interpretations and responses of the viewers. Nayoungim and Gregory Maass ponder on the nature of art: ‘How does art work?’, ‘How is art expressed?’ and ‘How do artists and their art works survive independently from each other?’. These questions are strongly interacted with their work. In this exhibition, they indirectly compare the nature of art which they consider very important to ‘Illusion’ and ask a question on what is the artistic ideal that everybody dreams of. While the exhibition embodies all the interpretable meanings of “Illusion”, it highlights the duplicity of utopian aspect.

Nayoungim and Gregory Maass use ordinary materials that are commonly found in our life such as cartoon characters, figures, living items in their works, and adapt them by quoting the scenes of movies or novels. In addition, they apply a variety of art trends to their works. In this exhibition, they deliver a message through some of the most familiar images from ancient art to contemporary art. At first sight, each piece of their works seems just simple, cheerful and funny but the implication of its components is not as it appears to be. When compared to music, their artworks are like a music composed of unfamiliar but new and impressive chords breaking the law of triad-based traditional harmony and this music with a new harmony is not ended and still going on.

The exhibition ‘There is No Beer in Hawaii’ is a story that is plain and sophisticated, familiar and unfamiliar at the same time. We might expect a cacophony from the story, but it just keep silent. Probably, at the moment when we feel that modern art is now more familiar and closer to us, we can feel distance again from it. And at the very moment, mixed emotions might go through us. We expect this exhibition to provide an opportunity to embrace all the imaginable and possible errors and share our thoughts and experiences.

* Derived from the Latin word ‘illudere’ which means ‘to play with’, ‘to mock’, ‘to ridicule’, ‘to consider fiction as reality’, the word ‘Illusion’ means ‘the state of being deceived’ and ‘something that deceives’. Its meaning includes both negative aspects such as ‘ignorance’, ‘lack of knowledge’, ‘absence of truth’ and positive aspects; e.g. I accept what I believe even if it might be wrong.

Curator: Sunyoung Oh

Courtesy the Artist
(Photo: Park Myung Rae)