Not Random Art - Page 28

Hello Jason and welcome to NotRandomArt. The current issue is revolving around the problem of communication and identity. Is there any particular way you would describe your identity as an artist but also as a human being in dynamically changing, unstable times? In particular, does your cultural substratum/identity form your aesthetics?

I am a Korean-American artist who has lived in the United States for more than 10 years but have a lot of complaints about California life. I think that moving to the States during middle school was one of the biggest experiences in my life. Yet, I don’t think of myself as very American or Korean. I don’t have a strong emotional tie to one identity over the other and think of myself as exactly half of each. However, I hate slow places like California. Living in more fast-paced environments like Chicago and New York has helped me come to realize my meticulous personality.

When it comes to Korean people, I think of characteristics such as snappiness or a bit of impatience. Also, Korean people are very aware of trends. When it comes to trending clothes, go to Kang Nam Station in Korea and you can easily spot people wearing the same, popular clothes. Even though I might say I don’t care about keeping up with popular fashion, I think that I enjoy that culture without even thinking about it. If I’m honest, I want to become a hipster sometimes. It might not be a conscious effort but I think that it shows through.

As a hobby, I read Monocle magazine at a cafe while listening to Koris Boorn, Hernan Cattaneo, and such. I was introduced to Monocle before I traveled to Paris. I bought The Monocle Travel Guide: Paris. I was trying to find the hottest, trendiest places in Paris before the trip. Since then, I became very obsessed with the trends in music, fashion, hair, and language of the Parisian hipsters, specifically. Both in my personal life and artistic expression, I try to portray that trendy Parisian sensibility. For example, I would say that my photography has a design sensibility that’s more akin to graphic design.

It’s not just about being hipster though. I was so drawn to the thinking and lifestyle that I haven’t seen in America. I traveled alone to Paris for a week. When it comes to French, I only know “bonjour” and “excusez-moi”. I ended up going around observing the Parisian lifestyle. When we think of hipsters, we think of 20-30 year-olds, but in Paris, older people keep up their appearances according to trends and enjoy art as much as younger people do. It seemed to be that kind of place. If you go to the big galleries like the Perrotin Gallery and contemporary art museums, you can find both elderly men and women enjoying contemporary art without reservations alongside elementary school children, too. That’s what I have to share about my identity and what I’m drawn to.

I have no comment on the current political climate. I do keep up with politics, but I think it’s too soon to judge the situation… I think we need to wait and see what direction everything will take. Social media sees Brexit and Trump negatively but I think we need to give these surprising events a chance. I think it’s part of democracy to accept the vote and the system.

We definitely love the way you question the nature of reality and representation, unveiling the visual feature of information you developed through an effective non linear narrative that establish direct relations with the viewers: German multidisciplinary artist Thomas Demand once stated that "nowadays art can no longer rely so much on symbolic strategies and has to probe psychological, narrative elements within the medium instead". What is your opinion about it? And in particular how do you conceive the expression of your works?

My recent works don’t have narrative. There was an element of narrative in an earlier series called Carry On. It’s about how 9/11 has changed the way we travel. Strict TSA rules changed what we bring on the plane. What we can bring on the plane is very limited. The Carry On series shows items people pack for a flight. I simply inverted the image to give an x-ray image look.

After that series, I didn’t make art for 2 years while I worked at the Hasted Kraeutler gallery in Chelsea, NY. At that time I thought I was building a career in the gallery business. Hasted Kraeutler represented contemporary abstract artists and photographers. And I think that just naturally influenced my work when I came back to photography, which might explain why my recent works are abstract and void of narrative.

Could you identify a specific artwork that has influenced your artistic practice or has impacted the way you think about your identity as a participant of the visual culture?

My Drop series is inspired by Pollock’s drip paintings. More recently, while creating Light Studies I've found interest in the works by photographers Uta Barth, Rinko Kawauchi and Wolfgang Tillmans. Uta Barth’s series called Draw With Light is a showcase of soft interior lights. Tillmans’ Paper Drop series captures abstract light created by reflections on photo paper. Rinko Kawauchi published multiple photobooks, all somewhat related to light. All of their work is not so much about narrative.

Uta Barth’s series called Draw With Light is a showcase of soft interior lights. Tillmans’ Paper Drop series captures abstract light created by reflections on photo paper. Rinko Kawauchi published multiple photobooks, all somewhat related to light. All of their work is not so much about narrative.

myself, by losing my roots, my culture, I would be very happy. Unfortunately the human being does'nt choose the place where he is born. He grows up in a society that automatically identifies, through education, culture, family... More than ever I think it's more important to go on a way of self-knowledge with the aim to meet “the other”.. This other without which we can not exist. It's the same for the artist. It is more important for me to be focused on my practice than to try to define it according to esthetic criteria of identification. It's probably the reason i like to remember the painter Matisse who said or wrote that an artist must never be prisoner of himself, prisoner of a style, prisoner of a reputation.

Would you like to tell us something about your background? Could you talk a little about experiences that has influence the way you currently relate yourself to your artworks?

All my way is influenced by encounterings.

It began by the meeting with my professor of literature at school. More than giving French or Literature classes, she brought us to discover texts, movies, plays, visual artworks and to think about on what we saw or read.. Thanks to her that I met Pierre Vincke, a theatredirector who was worjink in the tradition of Grotowski ... Both of them have led me to go to theater school. In this school I had meetings. Meetings with artists but also and especially human beings that made me discover. I always need o discover rather than to master a practice. It's probably the reason my encounter with Monica Klingler and Boris Nieslony was decisive for me and led me on the path of Performance Art which is a form still difficult to define. Each performance artist has a different definition of what it is...

Could you identify a specific artwork that has influenced your artistic practice or has impacted the way you think about race and ethnic identity in visual culture?

No I don't have a specific artwork that has influenced my artistic practise but many.

I'm influenced by some philsophers as well as poets or musicians or dancers or visual artists but also by some places or landscapes or atmospheres ... For some years, I was used for example to go to India where I was used to follow some traditionnal muscians or to learn bharatanatyam and practice vipassana meditation... Of course this experience has impacted my art work.... This brought me to think and work differently... My experience in India brought me to discover traditionnal strong art and paradoxally to the way of Performance Art. But there I see one common point: to make no separation between art and life and to be here and now, without projection on the future.

It's difficult for me to speak about race and ethnic identity. But I can say that today we miss more and more this notion of “to be here and now” which is more present in some cultures ... By practising Performance Art, it's my way to be connected to this way of thinking. And even in this field actually it's more and more difficult. The society and the art world brings us more and more to plan in advance, to define our work, more than to do. Just to do. To do what we deeply need.

And of course, my encountering with Black Market International and later the notion of Open Source or Open session via PAErsche have also a big impact on my work. When we go on that, each of us perform by sharing time and space but without trying to convince each other on some common way. This is for me a wonderfull way how we can meet each other, regardless of our origin, our race or our “identity”...

Many of your works carry an autobiographical message. Since you transform your experiences into your artwork, we are curious, what is the role of memory in your artistic productions? We are particularly interested if you try to achieve a faithful translation of your previous experiences or if you rather use memory as starting point to create.

My memory is clearly a starting point to create. I don't have any autobiographical message. I use my personnal experience ( what I feel , what I see, what I learn, what I ear...) to work. It's a motor or a material. I'm not able to paint, so I can't do something with red or white or yellow or black colors. All I have is life, a body alive. And I need to do something with that...

My sensation about life sometimes is too intense then I need to transform this intensity in some action. Some artistic action... If people can take something from this action this is great... but I don't want to give them “a specific message” or to control the translation of my experience.