I-MYU PROJECTS presents DOUBLE ENCONTER a new large-scale work by Korean artist Young In Hong in her first major London solo show. To accompany the exhibition Hong launches her latest book Where is Plin?
A group of figures hover ghost-like, casting shadows of their own transparent bodies to the outer walls of the gallery, bodies fall from heads with the weighted gravity of the fallen and folded material from which they are made, sewn thread appearing as drawn line disintegrates into nothing. Like nightgowns running to the floor, the work creases at its base, touching the floor and in becoming physical, allowing pictorial fiction to enter the real world.
The men, women and children depicted become an eclectic group portrait derived from an initial collage of living and historic characters, individuals encountered and photographed on the street by the artist have been mixed with figurative statutes depicting celebrated persons, found occupying similar street corners and public squares. Densely amalgamated this past and present become, however unlikely, a single integrated crowd, each figure an equal, each looking, each confronting, and each gaze focused on a different point. The spectacle beyond the work is undisclosed, unseen and unknown.
Fascinated by urban architecture Hong has identified statutes as being representative of society as much as being representational of the individuals they depict. These are people, historically disproportionately male, that have for one reason or another been selected above their peers, so like the layering of other urban architectures they tell of power, wealth and social contrivance. The city is as Hong describes, 'a strange kind of montage of different power structures and different times.'
As with previous works DOUBLE ENCOUNTER has its origins in photography, but following earlier works Hong expands her use of the medium through sewn line and stitch. Sewing transcends the time and historical differences between the subjects she depicts, and the time-based application of the sewing machine, the personal relationship that Hong has to it, becomes of central importance. Pressing the pedal activates the machine and sets a time clock in motion, the work records and is responsive to each gesture, decision, pause and idea made by the artist, good as well as bad.
In addition the activity of sewing resonates with specificities of social order that while variable by margin between East and West, relate, and in reflection to contemporary Korea, Hong draws on sewing, through gender solidarity, as an overlooked underpinning of the South Korean economy.
WHERE IS PLIN?
Alongside DOUBLE ENCOUNTER Hong launches her new book, Where is Plin? (2009), following from previous books Image Unidentified (2008) and The Words (2008), the work documents Hong's investigation into the disappearance of a thirty-two year old woman from East London in March 2009. Both visible and invisible, present or lost, ghost-like within the architectures of the city, her presence may be no less permanent or certain than the figures that amass in DOUBLE ENCOUNTER, individually and collectively they look and peer, their image doubled, in all senses Hong invites us to look and look again.
Young In Hong studied at Seoul National University and Goldsmiths College, London where she is currently completing her PHD. She has shown in Lost & Found (2008) at Rokeby, London and the A Foundation's Fantasy Studio (2008) in Liverpool as well in Korea, Japan, France and Taiwan.