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 Kim, Hee-jin(Director of Art Space Pool)



It is a dangerous to write about the ongoing work of young artist. And in this case, it was harder to write because I should do solve some internal conflicts of myself. As the late writer Choi, Myung-hee said that ‘Language is the fingerprint of mind.’ I admit the limitation that writing without the core as ‘mind’ can only be a writing of function and mundanity.  So I was eager to write an article that can be functionally helpful for the artist Kwon, Yong-ju. And I believe the attitude of humanistic writing that one without mind or without humane virtue should not write rashly. In this point this article innocent. This article is a humane article confessing sympathy of consideration, from a comrade to a comrade, or from an individual to an individual. Being humane cannot be a necessary and sufficient condition for humanistic thinking, but in mutual efforts for humanistic thinking, it can be more helpful than a formal act. I want to say this point to artist and my comrade, Kwon, yong-ju.

 Sense of kinship I feel by the artist is a inquiring mind of almost ethics, or a kind,  or kind of inflexibility like a melodrama. I’ll quote the artist’s saying.


“What I am focusing among the surface of the street is not a wasted recyclables, not a wastes; I am focusing on some trashes in the vague classification. I observe the aspect of those trashes; not be removed, they change their places and forms, mixing and rolling with other trashes. And I am interested in somewhat formal method of packaging of stall keepers for prevent stealing; also interested in the sense of revealing a little things in that package. I find some mutual dialogue, emotional exchange, and aesthetic communication in local scene that is similar every day; especially I find them in small movement in the surface of street. I want to express something based on mental, aesthetic and structured questions, sympathies, dialogues aroused from those records observations of daily life.”


Voice is simple, but somewhat stubborn. Sad smile of a young who recognized ones fate as a composition of anti-scientific, illogical topics and thesis that are disparaged as socio economically meaningless is expressed. So what should I do? This is the reality I know about, and this is the reality I can deal with, so what should I do? Focusing surface of the Street is not gained intentionally for the reason that it is a kind of anti-power, anti-mainstream and anti-institution in the political economical meaning; it is a natural thing aroused in the mind of artist from the attitude of ‘actively stick’ to experiencing facts.


Artist Kim, Yong-ik defines condition of art as 3 factor, experienced reality, conceptual thesis, and principle of style. And Artist Kwon, Yong-ju has strength of being an artist with experienced reality. Thesis of the artist sometimes seems poor and weak, but the artists accept thesis of ‘poor and weak’ itself. In this era where contemporary arts with only ‘technique’ and ‘tactics’ without concept are overflow, when I meet an artist who takes a thesis based on experienced reality even that thesis is mean and vague in the system of discourse structure, I start to expect the elegance of artist’s character. Attitude of Kwon, Youn-ju on artistic thesis is healthy and honest, so I expect the potentiality of an artist and the potentiality of insight is also healthy. As affection and faith on own thesis is deepened, and then will the artist has confidence of laughing at empty authoritative discourse structure and public gaze.


Then let me introduce some thesis of Kwon, Yong-ju. He is focusing on drifting matters on surface of a street, which is classified as a trash. The focus lies on small mobility of them, not on formative shapes of them. The artist expects that this mobility started from small move in the surface, mixing and rolling together naturally will be a movement including topography of emotional traffic, socio structural questions, aesthetical study, and spiritual pursuit. A fascinating thesis it is. In the approach of socio structural thesis it can be a flat thesis, but it can be a cryptic and mystic thesis for those who have never observed this thesis. The artist seemed to be entering the phase of representing the emotion from a object into a shape.


It is because he is an artist of judgment who can make a decision of articulating property of material and style together considering own characteristics, observing property of drifting of vague object. For example, ‘Underground Rainbow’ reminds us of desolated emotion of vague things drifting on the surface of street, while it is expressing the coldness, emptiness, and even sweet romance into using mirror, broken glasses, accidental reflection, desperate refraction and rainbow at the same time. A great work it is. And <Mountain of somebody – See you at the top> is also great, which expresses metamorphosing aspect from drifting emotion into blind nostalgia, heavy pressure of the desire for metamorphosis, stubborn blindness, and its void finale, making a mountain of hardening cements. <Buoy Light> of Honey Grass shows an intentional distraction like a visceral cleft, expressing a situation of quantitative increase of drifting vague things, rather than a blind focus.


But in his private exhibition, he seemed to be impatient. After emotional shaping of the thesis, he was focusing on visualizing the shape, using thesis as a subject with obsession for actual aspects of the thesis, rather than focusing on pursuit of ‘mind’. He said that he was interested in “something drifting on the surface of street’, not interested in trashes, wastes, and recyclables as surpluses excreted from post capitalism in dry view of socio economy. Observing the mobility of those drifting things, he happened to see some packages of stall keepers and suddenly the formative shape replaced “mobility”. This was the moment when the core of his exhibition turned into the presentation of buoy, from the consideration on “drift” of some drifting things. Then some art administrators without concern started to make errors of interpreting sign of “buoy” as a subject of senior problem or poverty problem. I think that he started to make the monument of drifting things from formative pressure rather than creating appropriate shape for drift, realizing the situation.  


But after shaping as a representation, he seems to be focusing on ‘mobility’, in the view of researching some concepts and minds. In his film he expresses mobility of drifting of vague things, and in his installation he approaches mobility interpreting it as “link”. But he brings about unintended distraction in the view of exhibition composition, implying conceptual difference in 2 films, film <how can I forget about you> and film <Buoy Light>, a daily opening series of Gallery 175. <How can I forget about you>, if you do not consider its incomprehensive title, is just a film of video and edit, expressing hopeless diligence of drifting things which the artist is seeking for. Artist Lim, Min-wook expressed the world in sarcasm, criticizing the meaningless speed of the world in his film <Rolling Stock> as a style of music video, and now artist Kwon, Yong-ju asks some questions of why should the world move like this, what is the repressive agent that forces this unproductive diligent, and what will be the end of this process. We can see some cautious critics of the artist that the situation of those who have worked whole life in the daily ethics of diligence, sincerity, and honest can be the same situation of those animals who are bumping their heads against the fences in the center of a city. Meanwhile, <Buoy Light> is a film expressing regression, fail, and perverted romance of escaping from the situation of someone who cannot drift-or, culled from drift, using style of poor feast. Then, in what kind of view does the artist think about the media of video? It cannot be understood as a unified concept, because his view on the media of video is in experimental phase. In the view of installation, I think that it could open the diversity of Kwon’s video to exhibit the film of <Buoy Light> with photo series of <Mountain of Somebody> in second floor, linking them conceptually.


In this view, drawing <Amateur Construction Committee> is a great work implying critics on the world where one should continue one’s work until the brain turns into a muscle. In the era of “The body can do”, “body” was the last tool that can cover something that cannot be covered by the head. In Kwon’s drawing, ‘brain turned into a muscle’ seemed to be an object for criticizing the era where one only can do an unconditional reflex due to the inertia of doing something by the body.


Installations should be understood separately, because two installations of installation linking underground-floor and installation in the second floor show obviously different aspect. Monumental installation of maelstrom linking floor and underground seems to be repeating expressions of two emotional aspects, perverted proliferation and blind focus, and installation of second floor seems to be approaching conceptual form of risky link from mobility. And, almost same factors aroused in both installations brought about question for second floor installation as well as conceptual confusion. I think that the motive of ‘link’ in second floor was very interesting in the view of relation aspect of transformation and evolution of drifting things in the surface of street the artists described. It is more interesting than the installation of underground representing the aspect of mass, in the view of diversity of narration and dramatic tension.

Artist Kwon, Yong-ju has evolved conceptually from mobility to link, feeling emotional sympathy with drifting things, expressing those emotional aspects into shapes. Some artists create shape from concept, and others create shape to deepen concept. Artist Kwon, Yong-ju started from the thought of surface and drifting, vague trashes, and represented those emotional shapes from that thought. Now it is time to deepen the concept. Difficulties can be understood. The concept he want to express is the concept of surface and drift that is vague in shape, so he can only represent it emotionally, and to conceptualize those concepts can be seen as absurd. I think that the artists need to organize some concepts, not for creating fashionable concept. It can be start from two ways, making detailed approach for the subject of surface and drift, and classify the characteristics of emotions. The classification can be start from classifying the subject in the view of social stratum like young and old, or in the view of materiality of trash like material and nonmaterial. Actualizing this process can actualize the classification of emotions. The artist Kwon, Yong-ju is good at emotional expression of material and objects with intuition, and have good sense of emotional sympathy with experienced reality, so he need to make up for the weak point by organized thinking and data analysis intentionally. In bad case, his works can be consumed in the sentimental desire granted by the others like ‘despair of young generation’. If the despair is not for his work and the emotion that he really wants to catch is despair, he could classify the despair to various types of emotions as resentment, fury, sadness, lament, anxiety, and isolation.

Not too focusing on the shapes of drifting things, not too depend on intuition to read the identities and aspects of drifting things, I recommend him to do some thought and study. Emotions are vague, but passions are obvious. Making the fingerprint of it is the concept of work.


                                                                                                                                       Sep. 2010

For shaping passions after shaping emotions

: On work of KWON, Yong-ju

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