From Here To There
18 Feb 2019 – 03 Mar 2019
Seoul, South Korea
The title FROM HERE TO THERE is the culmination of four artists coming together from a range of backgrounds via various routes. Throughout their careers, all four artists live or have lived at different places and use distance as means of renegotiating language, culture and economic spaces. The exhibited works speak of domestic cells, swimming pools, cardboard shipping boxes and visual texts, which mainly address questions of home, historical topographies, global tourism and issues of urban transformation. FROM HERE TO THERE is an exhibition that invites the visitor to revisit spaces the artists have trespassed, transformed, transported or translated ‘FROM HERE TO THERE’.
Objects More or Less Interesting
Objects More or Less Interesting (2019) explores physical and environmental phenomena associated with urbanization in a traditional residential area. Drawing on the historical, social and cultural symbols of the traditional Korean house, Hanok, the sculptural and architectural forms employed convey spatial-temporal variations of traditional architecture by using three primary shapes: the square (traditional radial structure), circle (cross beam), and triangle (roof). A spatial negotiation of togetherness between current & new form as well as their spatial segregation. The central space is empty: a constructive gap, an imaginary surface asking for the direction in which our traditional communities and our cities should develop. Using artificial industrial raw materials instead of traditional ones, the work featured in this exhibition metaphorically examines relationships of economic power and social change inherent in the process of urban transformation. Showna’s work re-interprets various theories of scientific analyses and theories of molecular biology as visual metaphor. In particular, seeing structures and landscapes as ‘cells’ undergoing the process of alteration or transformation over time (resulting from the direct uptake and incorporation of exogenous materials from different surroundings).
The video Motion Mapping is a poetic exploration of how we, as humans, define and document our relationship to our world. It has music by Wil Pertz, a performative reading by Kevin Nickolai, and translation by HaeRi Jeon.
The USPS series addresses the idea of transition/migration based on my personal experience of migration. As a newcomer to the country and young student following opportunities, I had frequently moved in preceding years, and the physical and emotional challenges that came with my constant transitions left my sense of place/home in a complete shambles. This successive transitions deeply affected the perception of myself as well as my relationship with the world. The USPS series consists of the enlarged self-addressed shipping labels printed on the cardboard shipping boxes that had traveled with me many times during my moves in the United States. The shipping labels are defaced or damaged as if to suggest the troubles of being shipped from place to place. The beaten and weathered self-addressed shipping labels connote a means of transporting one’s belongings, and in some cases, one’s entire possessions. At the same time, they are unsolicited reminders of the possibilities of missing or losing things in transit. The visible empty spaces in the installation evoke the sense of loss and the emotional emptiness in the aftermath of leaving a place. This allusion to the experience of migration, deep down, speaks to this very idea of life’s uncertainty. It is an endless journey of not knowing your next home, and of making home everywhere or nowhere. Hence, I employ my personal experience as a metaphor through which to convey the experience of migration, alluding to the idea of displacement, the sense of loss, and the residual impact of moving in both physical and emotional senses.
I Wasn’t Doing Nothing
In the film I Wasn’t Doing Nothing, the view is familiar as the rear seat of Philadelphia’s Market-Frankford SEPTA line. Through a trick in the viewpoint from the train’s rear seat, the viewer sees the train arriving into empty stations then departing, leaving completely desolated stations behind. The mournfulness of this seeming isolation is contrasted with the joyful longing created through other visuals within the work. At certain points, the perspective created by the train rails prompts an optical illusion; the train appears to move backwards, only to surge forward once again. As directions blend and blur, so does location; while the video documents Park’s morning commute from 52nd Street to 69th Street, it features a landscape transition from ramshackle housing to wildly overgrowing rail side greenery. The journey from city to pastoral — recognizable urbanity to unspecified Arcadia — removes the film from its documentary aspect and places the viewer on a journey to the universal utopian home of which we all dream. Park presents as accessible through motions both backwards and forwards, past and present, and a stone’s throw from where we are now.
The Swimmer is an adaptation of the movie with the same title from 1968 by Frank Perry starring Burt Lancaster. In the film, which is based on John Cheever’s short story, the protagonist Ned Merill swims along an imaginary river, made up of a series of swimming pools located on various private properties in the state of New York, all the way to his home. The formalised version of The Swimmer by Sascha Pohle is set in the context of mass tourism using a common Thomas Cook travel brochure as a ready-made film script. In accordance with the page order, the artist swims through a series of successive hotel pools on Tenerife, one of the Canary Islands. From page 19 of the travel brochure, Pohle swims one lap through each pool, page by page. The video concludes with the 52nd pool on page 48, it remains open-ended and doesn’t resume to other advertised destinations. As swimming through all pools would be an impossible mission, this break also functions as a caesura pointing out to a topography of myriad interchangeable and generic places. Splashes of water, silent swimming movements, transitory traces of a body against the typology of swimming pool architecture, the swimmer’s loneliness in a leisure ambience, and minute-long sequences impose a strange melancholy over the documentary footage of Pohle’s swimming performance. The Swimmer contradicts the actual characteristic of a pool area; without a rest, and possibly as an allegory of the work of the artist too, Pohle traverses a pool, always to the next one, from here to there, or nowhere.