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Gallery Zandari
[121-838, 370-12] Seokyo-dong
Mapo-gu, Seoul, Korea   map * 
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Mapping the Gray
by Gallery Zandari
Location: Gallery Zandari
Artist(s): Hai Yun JUNG, Kichang CHOI, Byung Ho LEE, Chang Hong AHN
Date: 24 May - 24 Jun 2012

In this exhibition, four artists - ChangHong Ahn, ByungHo Lee, HaiYun Jung and KiChang Choi - present their paintings, sculpture, installations and drawings. One of this exhibition's intentions is to find out how different styles strike a balance in one exhibition, as diverse as artists' perspectives. By the same token, it is not easy to find similarity from different themes that each artwork represents. Even if it is possible, we did not set the exhibition towards that direction. Gallery Zandari's special exhibition for May, ¡¸Mapping The Gray¡¹, begins the recognition that an artistic action may constitute a process to identify a concrete and clear 'symbolic sign' from 'ambiguity.' Following the symbolic sign will provide an opportunity to take a closer look at the social and artistic context within it.

To be specific, it can be said that the process mentioned above is perceiving the sentiment of the times from the contemporary artistic action. That is because the given social situations and conditions are naturally reflected while each artist is working on his (or her) artwork according to his interest and approach to his medium. It is the so-called 'social semiotics' of Charles Sanders Peirce, which reveals the aspects of the real world we live in. It is necessary to identify these signs sincerely and reflect on our experiences for keeping healthy and discerning our future direction. The impetus to find a newly required paradigm of the times can be obtained only when we keep ourselves alert. In this context, 'ambiguity' is distinguished from 'vagueness' that is devoid of an exit, as it sets its own direction.

On the other hand, looking into the process involves guessing the contemporary trends or direction of art. As Gilles Deleuze's said, every artwork has a brief history of art that artists summarized in their own way. Therefore, we need to be cautious that it is very risky to apply an 'excessively horizontal standard' in grasping the formal styles of artworks as if creating a hierarchical tree. It can be also violent as if determining a person's civility or personality from his appearance or occupation. Instead, the status of the artistic action should be determined based on the thorough examination on historical developments in the works of art, rather than other things. 

ChangHong Ahn has usually painted the images of people who live as a perpetrator and victim at the same time under modern social conditions, while experimenting with new approaches of media, such as photographic collage, painting and photography. That was our sad self-portrait, showing that our uncontrollable desires end up victimizing ourselves and others. Likewise, his series of works from the late 1970s, "Family Photo," "Dangerous Play," "49 Persons' Images" and "People," consistently expressed the images of people who were victimized by the violence of an oppressive society and ideology and degraded to anonymous objects. However, more recently, he shifted his eyes to the marginalized, that is their hidden inside, through an rite of undressing in his nude series, "Bed Couch," in which he used his acquaintances as models. Now people are not victims or perpetrators, while they become unique entities with the warmth of life. This transformation may indicate that the artist is in the middle of moving from external reflection to internal one.

HaiYun Jung shows a general painting development, while applying several formal elements of Oriental paintings. It is because her early works are descriptive and figurative, whereas her recent works become conceptual and constructive. In addition, the drawer - her main subject - signified the concept of a house as a shelter for alienated people in the beginning, but now it represents the drawer itself (its existence), which is associated with the issues of 'ego' or 'relation.' Her recent artworks with threads and stainless bowls indicate that she deeply recognizes the 'close relation' with others or the outside world as a basic condition for existence, and that she intends to reflect on existence itself.  

ByungHo Lee repeatedly reminds us of the 'finiteness,' the basic condition for humans, through the so-called 'evolving' sculptural works using silicone and air as main materials. 'Death' has long been a main theme of throughout art history. In such a context, the artist uses the regular characteristics of sculpture to some extent, but takes this to a more extraordinary dimension by embracing 'air' into his work. The air surrounds the world, and is always consistent because it is the most fundamental substance making up a complex material. The human body and desires come and go repeatedly in this consistent cycle. Each artwork exists as a part, and is part of nature as a whole. In this exhibition, Lee brings art into such a cycle by borrowing Rodin's masterpiece. 

KiChang Choi uses every objects and concepts around him in daily life as a source of 'aesthetic play' that he works on through avant-garde artworks, using the media of video, installation, painting and drawing. He asks a question to things that dominate your consciousness and surroundings unknowingly, and twist and deconstruct them. In this regard, observing his artwork is like watching a black comedy. The television, a window to the outside world, shows only white images due to information overflow and faces the wall silently with its back turned. The drawing 'Litter Bear,' which was expressed in a different feel as time passes by, reveals the paradox of human vision and perception of objects. On a glance, his aesthetic play appears dry and heavy, but is pleasant from beginning to end like a comedy. Accordingly, it does not lose its sharp aspect.   

In a nutshell, first, the symbolic signs, as social semiotics, which can be recognized throughout the artworks of four artists, require a more direct and delicate reflection on our egos and the world. In other words, it requires persistent effort to comprehend ourselves within the framework of contextual thinking, as well as under our situations and environments while responding to a multi-dimensional realty. That is, pose a question endlessly. Are you satisfied with what it is now? Should it be that way? Moreover, paradoxically, we can get the 'a glimmer of sound clearness' only when we try to recognize the ambiguity in a clearer manner. Next, the historicity of each artwork is still underway, regardless of the formal process, if you can say. That is because it actively responds to each individual's life in its own way and deepens thinking within each formal style.  

The specific decision should be made by the audiences. Finally, in this exhibition what we expect is to fill 'ambiguity,' the point of departure, with colorful and meaningful 'fun' through the harmony of different personalities and their charms in one place.

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