Daily Archives: September 22, 2013

Moon Kyungwon/Jeon Joonho:News from Nowhere: Chicago Laboratory

Moon Kyungwon/Jeon Joonho:News from Nowhere: Chicago Laboratory

Sullivan Gallery,

Moon and Jeon are known by their collaboration works in recent years. And they are now having a show named “News from Nowhere: Chicago Laboratory” in the Sullivan gallery now in the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

The idea of the project is the artists question nowadays from the postapocalyptic future by working with several elite from different background such as designer, architect , scientist and philosopher. They try to build up a artificial world where almost without nature.  There also two films in the show, characters from  future investigate the world now.

The questions raised in the show is interesting, but in a way seems too huge for anyone of us living in the world to answer. I appreciated their courage and curiosity, but also wonder if the visual elements of the show can represent what was saying in the conversation. The people who collaborate with them provide some different view to the world, however the artists also have to yield to their profession and their current project (like Toyo Ito’s temporary housing project for the Fukushima tsunami) . This become a two-sides issue for the show. I would like to see their conversations more then I might can say more.

The film in the show is worth watching. Delicate and precise, poetic and touching(especially El fin del mundo). Also there are some related talks and conversations during the show, might also be worth going. On October 15th there is a conversation between Moon, Jeon, Toyo Ito, and Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle.

Prestidigitation at Slow

I hadn’t been to Slow before, let alone any of the Pilsen galleries, but had heard its vivacious owner Paul Hopkin on recent panel discussion at SAIC “A Curator in your Studio”. Last night I attended the opening of Steve Reber and Kevin Jennings’ two-man show: Prestidigitation. The gallery is tiny but welcoming and it was a little awkward maneuvering between floor pieces, a cloaked magician figure and many guests.  A peek into the back space revealed a cosy open plan studio apartment where Paul lives – it added a intimate feel to the space which lies somewhere in the undefined area between commercial and apartment gallery.

Steve’s exquisitely constructed floor and wall sculptures shine, and completely stole the show for me. They are highly structural yet generous to the viewer; with their stucco-like surfaces, quirky found objects and papier-mache decoupage sections. They appeal on a number of levels: from intrigue in their materials to the relationship between the crystalline chemical structures and the found objects and images inhabiting their forms.

Kevin Jennings’ work appeared contrived in comparison. Cast arms painted black reached out from charcoal circles drawn directly on the gallery walls and presented viewers with various items in their palms. One hand contained a puddle of flesh-like blamange with just a few little black hairs left on its surface as if the magician in the corner had cast a spell of transformation– this one appealed much more than the expected dice and vials.

Prestidigitation runs through October 19 at Slow
2153W 21st Street, Chicago, IL 60608

Paul Sietsema- Seeing as Media

The affect is potent and pure.

I am fooled, or am I a fool.  Images striking like the shutter of a camera. Visual culture today doesn’t question how or where the image is conceived. It is all presumed to exist in some capacity. The accessibility to information and the images that are dragged along with it are of no mystery, and if there is, no one quite cares. Art and culture is now reduced to .jpeg or .gifs, and is viewed on the same platform as “everything else” due to technology. To make paintings about capturing moments of “work” in relation to current and social issues and juxtapose them with “artifact” would just appear to be a repetition a copy of the already established algorithm in which images are delivered to us. Yet Paul Sietsema seems to bind “now” with artifact and facsimile simultaneously.

The paintings come of initially as something they are not. The read is quick and concise.  Literal and clear, the “paintings”  execution and representations beckon a closer look.  I use the word “paintings” here in quotations because at first they appear photographic or printed. It could be easy to brush them off, but their precision requires some scrutiny.  The materiality addresses this idea of progress and sustain a pregnant moment that is shattered the closer you get, but not as an unreadable mess, but a facsimile’s matrix that is so tight that the blur between perception and the actual object in front of you becomes an exercise of fossilizing time between the static paintings and potential energy of the subject matter being depicted.

That is one thing this show seems to push; Potential Energy. The paintings of all the objects whether moments of “still life” to “Screen Prints”, in paintings such “Light Fall, Cutting Daisies”, the halftone is directly painted and the revelation that they aren’t prints distills or fuses the work with the idea of aura. Images become hyper real but not like Marilyn Minter or Richard Phillips.  These paintings act like the common state of visual culture and deliver a type of information that must be decoded and reconstructed in the same state of consciousness as contemporary culture. The production of work, the non-production, and the quick understanding and read of a photograph or .jpeg. He fools you with one studio artifact (Stack Drawing), and the rest are recreations of artifacts, painted in enamel, on died substrates to match the color, or water colors of calendar photos of sail boats where the sail’s depict dates in chronological order with Ghost images of the dates peaking through the light that doesn’t exist, from a sun that is not hiding behind the surface.

He re-presents his studio as artifact via projections and a poetic dialogue by Jean Debuffet. These “kinetic” re-presentations of his studio and artifacts fading in and out of existence, like the Time Piece whose time changes yet remains static, or the Pre-Colonial broken vessels recreated for documentation. The reality is that of one that has existed, still exist and will continue to exist.

Steven Vainberg