Located in the old part of the city Inchon Art Space is Inchon’s most vibrant cultural space. It consists of 13 buildings built between 1930s and 1940s which used to house Japanese and Korean mail, shipping and logistics companies during the colonial period. Before that the city was an important trade port for Chinese goods and now it is a home to the country’s largest international airport. Due to its access to sea and proximity to the capital Inchon used to be the first entry point for new cultural and artistic influences. Today when places like Seoul (the capital), Busan (Korea’s second largest city and biggest port) and Gwangju (home to Asia Culture Center) have taken the spotlight Inchon Art Platform runs a versatile Artist-in-Residency program to attract and maintain artistic talent in the city.
The program supports local and foreign artists working in various styles and mediums and promotes engagement with the city’s historical background as well as the production of works addressing more universal issues such as environment, artificial intelligence, identity and belonging among other.
Kang Juhyeon - "Cloudy Glasses" // Mackerel Safranski - "Struggle 120" // Kwak Eve - "gray-white hair_Day"
The exhibition opens with an artwork by Kang Juhyeon titled Cloudy Glasses which explores the connection between spaces and objects. Ms Kang challenges our perception of trivial everyday objects by putting them in unusual context and focuses on the “uneasy” feeling this change leads to.
Next is a series of three paintings by Mackerel Safranski (real name: Kim Da-jong) who originally majored in German Language and Literature but turned to art as a mean of self-healing after suffering from repeated episodes of anorexia and bulimia. The artist actively uses fish as a metaphor for person implying that humans are no different from animals and the world is no different from a jungle. In notes to her previous works she compares a monkey flaunting his penis to a “male” ruler flaunting his power. In Struggle 120 she represents the pain, violence and struggle for survival experienced by the victims of Yongsan fire accident (in 2009 nearly 30 people died in a fire at one of Seoul’s central subway and railway stations) and Milyang power-transmission tower accident (in 2008 a similar accident happened in a power tower near Milyang) indirectly comparing human and animal reactions.
Kwak Eve’s gray-white hair_Day is an installation of 35 canvases painted in black, white and grey arranged together as a callender. The artwork invites the viewer to contemplate the cyclic nature of life and unavoidability of the ordinary. The artist seems to imply that every great deed can be “restructured” to routine daily tasks and events.
Geum Hyewon - "Untitled" // Kim Soonim - "Moon on Lavoir 2017" // Delphine Pouille - "Agility #4" // Li Liuyang - "Flapping 3"
Beom Jinyong employs a similar form of “puzzle of paintings” to explore the multilayer-ness of dreams. Landscape functions as a visual “dreams diary” of inconsistent narratives which are impossible to arrange. For the artist his condensed psychological experiences finalise the perception of the incomplete surroundings.
The topic of Geum Hyewon’s practice is the relationship between a city’s material environment and its subsequent social implications. For “Untitled” however she redirects her focus to personal history as a constituent of social history. She uses her grandmother’s personal items to reconstruct the lives and thoughts of the generation of women who lived in the uncertain times of Korea’s rapid industrialisation.
Beom Jinyong - "Landscape" // Sim Seungwook - "Construction or De-construction" // An Gyunsu - "A loud night" // Ahn Sanghoon - "Rolling Drawing"
In a similar manner Ahn Sanghoon’s Rolling Drawing features excerpts from his personal correspondence with a German artist as a symbol of expanding time and space. He describes his work as a “painting which steadily finalises itself” which explores the interaction between process and tangibility.
Speaking of unfinished business, Chang Seoyoung’s Until your name is called reflects a similar sentiment. His 26-minute single-channel video features ballerinas practicing for a show they are never to perform, and creates an expectation for something which will never be satisfied.
Hwang Gyunghyun’s work is permeated by a similar feeling of doom and inescapability. The painting is a part of his “21st century Flaneur” series in which he explores the effects of Capitalist society on the individual. In Drawing (stroller) a conte is depicted walking in an unrecognisable landscape referring to the anonymity of the loner in the big city.
Another video installation by Park Seungsoon titled Neuroscape explores the dual nature of artificial intelligence. In the installation an AI head is asked to match pictures of places with their soundscape - the correct and incorrect matches point to the ambiguity of mechanical knowledge processing.
Hwang Gyunghyun - "Drawing (stroller)"
Hwang Moonjung’s Plant mask project_ experience room is the exhibition’s most ambitious work. It features video, installation, drawings and sculpture all referring to different aspects of the multilayer-ness of spaces. The installation features a TV screen showing the video AIR Shop Show: Plant Mask Series which addresses the underestimated nature of environmental issues. The video as well as the accompanying man-made grass and tree function as a work within the work and reveal the artist’s deeper concept of the final project.
Hwang Moonjung - “Plant mask project_ experience room”
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