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City Rituals: Gestures

Sep 18 – Oct 23, 2012



artclub1563 introduces as our 10th exhibition, the solo show of Young In Hong, an artist who has been working in London for the past 10 years.

The artist Young In Hong has been interested in the type of social norms and public opinions we accept absent-mindedly without filtering. She registers them with a keen eye and an extraordinarily free imagination, like an archaeologist with her own perspective on the world.

Her interest in contemporary society is clearly visible in her early works in 2002. She installed seven-meter tall pillars in the atrium area of Taipei Fine Art Museum that looked like sophisticated soft sculptures made of lace, yet they also suggested the drapery of a temporary set representing on and off the stage. Young In Hong has developed a language of juxtaposition and revaluation, constantly pairing contrasting modes of vision between ‘things to be seen and things to see’, ‘inside and outside’, ‘existence and disappearance’, etc.

Through this exhibition in particular, she introduces a new project related to her own interpretation of public place and its structures which she progessively developed since 2004. What she did initially with the piece Open Theatre, at the post office in Ankuk-dong in 2004, was to cover the building with red see-through fabric. The Ankuk-dong post office was erected in the 80’s. Its typical grey concrete was changed by Hong’s humorous, yet novel gesture. In the same period, with the piece I Will Commit Crime for Ever and a Day, she installed a flowerpot garden in front of the police station in Samchung-dong, Seoul, by flowerpots she stole from streets, café-decorations or open-garden of the locals. The piece functions as a political satire that blurs the borders between what seems permissible and what is illegal through disarming charm.

artclub1563, the venue for Hong’s current exhibition does itself become the object of the artist’s interrogation of public institution’s ambiguous status within the fluctuating dynamics of contemporary life. The artist seeks to express an emerging type of place that exists somewhere in between art and everyday life. This temporary place is one where invisible features of public space is brought to the surface at the same time as an artistic imagination is seen to work on the hierarchies of established orders. Young In Hong further instigates an ambiguous and temporary ‘open order’, where police officers, representatives of the law, are invited to occupy a unique zone between the public space represented by the police station and the independent space of the gallery. By still fulfilling the function of communicating with the public about the artworks in the space, the officers become part of a move to create a temporary place between the ‘free’ space of art and regulated public space. In this way the audience are also participants in an open experiment. The exhibition sets up a potential where the future society ‘to come’ remains undetermined and open to negotiation. Without involving normal political commentary, Hong is still redefining ‘democratic principles’ beyond the limited idea of the legal subject.

The artist is also presenting a large embroidery artwork as part of the total installation. This piece, Triptych: A Wishful Song, incorporates her impression of various public graffiti. This wall of embroidery contrasts the speed and randomness of graffiti with the calculated, delicate and time consuming process of embroidery. Again the piece actualises what is physically evident and present, (here a graffiti wall), simultaneously with the erosion of a stable conceptual foundation for such a presence (the consensus definition of a phenomena). Triptych: A Wishful Song is another example of the artist’s constant questioning of the belief structures and hierarchies that underlie legality, public consensus and the collective perception of the visible. The artist invites the forces of change and instability that works beneath the surface of the public domain to play an active part in the formation of the work.

Text & Curated by SUUM project

Photo by Cheol NamGoong