ONE-A-DAY_ Table Talk
parts of excerpt
Seeun Kim, Park Minhee, Jihyun Jung
Seeun Kim: The day I first came to visit, I didn’t see a single sculpture in the studio. It was a basement-level workshop with a lot of indistinct metal frames standing there—I think Jihyun had drawn long lines over the space to divide the atmosphere up into large sections. Even later on, when I was using the long wall right next to the frames to do paintings, there still weren’t any kind of (3D) masses in the studio. Jihyun was like a squirrel, always making things nonstop, but the only things in the space were objects that were long and thin, or broad but without thickness. The day the artwork was carried over to the exhibition space, I realized, “Oh, that’s what it was!” The entrance to the hallway connecting the studio with the outside was very small, and anything that needed to be carried out had to be smaller than the entrance.
After going through that narrow space, the objects (still materials at this point) were arranged in the exhibition space, and Jihyun began deciding where to put them and forming them into assemblages. At this point, he seemed to be approaching the space with actions that were different from the movements and postures of the body that I was familiar with. While he was at work in the studio, he would be off in a corner, working in slow, small movements, but in the exhibition space he seemed to be straightening himself out as he confronted the scene before him. And the result of this was a clear difference in the scale of the assembled structures and the perspectives where the objects were placed.
Jihyun Jung: How I work is determined by the varying conditions in the studio. I needed some special plan for creating a mass that would fill a fairly large exhibition space, while working in a space with narrow doors and low ceilings that made it difficult to produce something bulky. In the case of Round Off (2018), which was a frame piece made with metal rods, I made it narrow but tall and divided it into different parts. These things delineate the heights and width I want for the installation within the exhibition space, while dividing up the different areas. At the same time, it can also be a frame for capturing the scenes emerging all around and allowing the gaze to travel beyond. With Doubledecker (2018), I created volume and a large area by attaching dozens of fluorescent lights in parallel diagonally on an empty sign frame, which caused the light to spread. Filing Public Sculpture (2018) involved taking molds of bronzed public sculpture. There was a neglected statue outside the wall of a building near the studio, which shows the image of a crouching naked woman. Larger than life-size and with a bulky frame, her image disrupts the ordinariness of the surrounding environment. I decided I wanted to transfer that statue’s outer surface into another format, so I wrapped it in thin and light aluminum mesh, pressing down bit by bit to make a mold. I produced dozens of pieces of aluminum mesh, which I stacked up like documents to store before bringing them to the exhibition setting and piling them up high. The structure created as these mesh layers are overlaid is outwardly monumental, while at the same time allowing the scene behind it to filter through. I chose this approach because I wanted a tall mass that occupied the center of the exhibition space, but I didn’t want to block out the paintings or sound.
Seeun Kim: I didn’t have a major role during the installation period, so I watch in detail while Jihyun was doing his installation, and I was astonished at how similar it was to the way images are composed in my painting. I was amazed how this process of painting in two dimensions could be achieved in actual space. The frame that selects a sense and allows it through, the process of the low-resolution layers building on each other, the broad surface created by the regular spreading of light, the color planes that selective take the place of the walls in the exhibition space—it seemed like Jihyun was using his different materials in an ongoing variation on the art museum wall that the painting had come away from.
Jihyun Jung: When you’re put up an installation in a gallery setting, it’s very different movement physically from producing individual objects in a studio. I was summoning an existing exhibition space into the workshop setting, connecting the objects and structures to form a scene. My working approach is to position the sightline in one location and do installation for a certain period before shifting the coordinates again. I kept moving around and examining things with the resulting lines of movement. With my back straightened out.
Seeun Kim: Your objects each have their own sources and clear background stories, but they seem to be casting something aside, leaving a kind of connection as they enter the exhibition space. For you, it seems like both parts are important: the story possessed by the materials themselves (direct collection), and the information acquired socially by the forms brought in from the outside (indirect collection). In your installations, the information in these factually based objects acquires different connections as they appear in an exhibition setting, but without disrupting the eye’s perception. I’m curious how you form these decisions during your installations.
Park Minhee: When I think of a performance, I see it as an art of time, where you’re concretely calculating a narrative of changing perceptions during the viewing of an object (or non-object) that we have to invest time to see. Obviously, the state produced according to the artist’s intentions is important, but I believe the performance achieves completion through the senses that accumulate over time as you watch. Also, the main materials that I use are sound and its physical properties. It couldn’t have been easy to install a work while considering the invisible material that is a performance. I’d like to hear your thoughts on whether you felt intimidated about a performance and sounds that hadn’t arrived yet while you were installing your sculpture and painting work, on the ways you left room in the space for the sounds, and also what each of you considered “space” to be (although there were something things I got a vague sense of while we were together).
Jihyun Jung: Before, I adjusted the times for things like smoke, light, wind, and sound to place them on their own individual timelines as a device to convey a specific story based on my experience in a sensory way. There’s a rather performative nature to the illusion where you draw temporality into space at different levels, but I wanted to experiment with an expansibility of narrative that can be achieved over time simply through substances and materials. I ended up having the opportunity to eliminate that part when I met Minhee. With this exhibition, I was also able to just strip away all the different details of the various objects that had been critical elements in my work. That experiment, where I evoked space through simple portioning with crudely shaped masses and incomplete structures, was a new challenge for me in a way.
So the understanding of sound arrived at with this exhibition wasn’t something completely strange. The plan was simply to have the sound and performance enter in the latter half of the installation, so I was mainly just cautious. As Minhee said, I viewed the work that had already been installed as an “environment,” leaving open the possibility of change so that it would be possible to work. The space I conceived of for this exhibition was a composition where I would incorporate the “scene” of a painting to present a third scene in actual space. For the materials, I generally prepared things that had not been processed very much from their raw state so that they could respond flexibly within the installation environment—in other words, so they’d be quick to respond to the images in the paintings and the moving sounds in the air.
In my mind, the space could be referred to in several ways: as the space of imagination where Minhee’s performance takes place; as a space that can incorporate the changes of temporary sculptures (where we can imagine potential movement); as a space where we can sense the precise direction of perception simply through the positioning, sequence, and distance among the objects; as a space where objects taken from the public have been reconfigured; or a space where planes and lines are positioned lightly, like drawings, so that painting, sculpture, and sound can all interact.