Included in the upcoming exhibit “Embers” at Gallery Page and Strange
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A part of the upcoming “Embers” exhibit at Page and Strange Gallery
Entering Gallery Skape is a bit like stepping into the dreamy white world of Contemporary Art Daily, the brightness bar slid so far to the right in photoshop you can’t see the corners where the walls meet. It borders on ethereal white, very surreal - but an appropriate host to “Hidden Dimension,” a group exhibit featuring the work of gallery artists exploring imaginary and invisible realms in response to site-specific projects. The works were carefully chosen and the installation sparse. Interesting conversations unfold through each artist’s take on the subject, however: the execution of all the work is so painstakingly flawless, there aren’t enough rough edges here to keep things breathing. Like the flawless white space, craftsmanship sometimes gets in the way of the character underneath. Or maybe I’ve just been in Halifax for too long. That being said, there are poignant moments in this show.
Sodam Lim’s large-scale paintings look as though she wandered into the jungle at night and snapped a photo, painting everything from memory in a rapid session before the flash bulb burned out. “Nest” (2013) sees her working in a limited palette save for the odd shock of pink, but darkness is the subject and the substance of her paintings here. Whites are simply blank canvas, it’s black that creates form and density in her work, tracing the outlines of foliage before dripping off into abstract space. The shadows are of more importance to her than the leaves casting them, and it is her generous sense of mark and method of building the picture that opens the work up: her paintings occupy a space somewhere between the materiality of photographic flatness and immaterial memory.
Myeongbeom Kim’s surreal objects exist as extensions of our selves, projections of the lived space of our physical bodies, and an interface between the present and the past. From a noose hangs Kim’s “Dining Chair” (2013), the elegant curvature of its leg wrapped in white synthetic rope. Hanging upside down, the regality of the chair becomes ridiculous and comical, but the humour is dark. It sways almost imperceptibly – ironically – death is the very thing that animates this piece. Looking up, I notice the veneer of the leg has been rubbed away slightly to reveal a pale layer beneath. The effect is one of skin and bone and an eerie anthropomorphic aura from head to toe. Dark and fragile life cycles and invisible histories are expressed in the areas that have worn away.
Downstairs, Hyungkoo Lee’s sculptures radiate the aura of artifacts or props from a long-lost 1950s science fiction film. In “Mirror Canopy” (2010), an old wooden office chair rigged with frightful leather straps and encaged in a network of two-way mirrors is grotesque – but funny. You want to sit in it, or stick one of your friends in the chair and make them drink out of the vodka feeding tube attached to the pouch on the back. Nearby is “Creeper” (2010), a low-lying operating table on wheels abandoned in mid-operation. A little metal folding tray is jimmy-rigged to the side, tweezers and human detritus neatly extracted in an unidentifiable procedure. Morbid mini-panopticons, Lee’s works conjure up ideas around the absurdity of spectatorship and self-regulation, and succeed in constructing new purposes for antiquated objects that reflect our own futility and, well, idiocy.
At a time when a lot of artists seem to be performing the creative equivalent of singing karaoke, this exhibit is full of refreshing, richly layered pieces that explore a transcendent realm of space, united by their dark humour. Curated by Somi Sim, the effort is poetic and inclusive, with plenty of things left unsaid.
Hidden Dimension is open until November 2nd at Gallery Skape, 58-4 Samcheongro, Jongnogu, Seoul. Participating Artists: Hyungkoo Lee, Jungwook Kim, Myeongbeom Kim, Reinoud Oudshoorn, Sodam Lim, Suejin Chung, Sungsoo Kim, Takahiro Iwasaki
Another nice review in The Coast by Julie Sobowale about the group “Clouds” exhibit at Page & Strange. The show is officially over but there are three fresh volcanic pieces hanging – see them here, and read the great review below.
“Truth is inseparable from the procedure establishing it.”
- Gilles Deleuze in Foucault (London: Continuum, 1988)
Uncanny Valley officially closes on the 29th at Gallery Page and Strange. For those of you who didn’t get a chance to see the exhibit, here are a few photos of the installation. A special thank you to Josh Garrett for taking these terrific pictures – you can view his website here.
Here’s a great review in Sunday’s Chronicle Herald about Uncanny Valley
Here’s a nice writeup in this week’s issue of The Coast about the exhibit, up at Page and Strange until the 29th.