Artist: Cho Hyun-a
Works at: Seoul Art Space_GeumCheon
Stays in: 2012
Genre: Visual Arts
2012 Fiction Walk, National Museum of Contemporary Art, Korea
2011 RCA Secret, Royal College of Art, London, U.K.
2009 The Soul Travels at the Pace of a Camel, IMART Gallery, Seoul, Korea
2012-13Seoul Art Space_Geumcheon Residency, Seoul Foundation for Arts and Culture, Seoul, Korea
2011-12 Nanji Art Studio, Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul, Korea
(책 사이즈: 150x107mm, 페이지: 272, 디자인: 타입페이지)
Ordure 드로잉 시리즈, 종이 위에 수채와 구아슈, 각각 20x30cm, 2011-2012
Cho Hyun A
Contextual gaps, deformed spaces, neurasthenia, oscillation, the folds of water, a fragmented daily life, origami, echo, the politics of aesthetics, collective memories, borders, a void space, afterimage, murmuring, itchiness, ornament, the act of limping, stutterer, the thoughts of the night and many other things.
A Critique on the Works of Cho Hyun A
Lee Sooyoun (Curator, National Museum of Contemporary Art, Korea)
Works by Cho Hyun A trace the trivial and subtle crevices of the everyday. The associations of ordinary and mundane objects are strange or banal. The artist herself says she is interested in contextual gaps, deformed spaces, neurasthenia, oscillation, folds of water, a fragmented daily life, origami, echo, the politics of aesthetics, collective memories, personal experiences, borders, a void space, afterimage, murmuring, itchiness, a piece of broken mirror, ornament, the act of limping, stuttering, the thoughts of night, and many other things. For Cho, the presence of the point of rupture is revealed through such an extremely delicate working process.
<Time Breeding/Time Breathing> (2010- ) consists of drawing and a form of installation. The bird’s head hanging dangerously like a mobile, the moth fluttering its wings trapped in a vinyl bag, the words written on a white piece of paper, lumps of sugar filled in the spaces of squared manuscript paper are the arrangement of everyday objects delivering the artist’s emotions in an extremely symbolic way. Each object is coded, and can be read like a text, but the method how to read this text is yet unknown. In this piece the artist has produced the works through discreet manner while ceaselessly changing these narratives. Since her way of communication is ambiguous and even private, a reciprocal interaction between the artist and audience seems impossible. Therefore, the artist began to search for something - the third spaces - in order to traverse a sense of ambiguity.
In <The False as Water- Prologue> (2012- ), the artist builds up the tension between images of water and its surroundings by working with the idea of overlapped and dislocated time and space. The artist has explained that the reason she selected water as the main motif of her work is because of the symbolic meanings implied within water – a source of life and an entrance to death at the same time. Water and its ripples represent the artist’s recognition of ruptured time and space. Through this process of documenting water the artist has become capable of representing the subject matter without compromising her secrecy. A momentary, fragmented time and parts of events are recorded through lights by a film camera. Without the aid of Photoshop the idea of crevices in relation to a moment of time is represented as a photographic imagery such as vivid lines recorded by the source of light or a puncture hole in the negative film space. In these disoriented photographs the traces of multiple time and space although existing in the same space, are recorded in such a detached manner. They suggest the notion of transience of ordinary incidents encountered in everyday life.
In her most recent work <Des Grands Sphinx> (2011-2012) the artist invents a more direct way of telling her story through her imaginative empathy with her subject. The title of this project is extracted some passage from a poem ‘Les Chats’ by Charles Baudelaire’s ‘Les Fleurs du Mal’ (Flowers of Evil). In this poem cats are described as ‘giant sphinxes stretched in depths of solitude’. This work began by documenting two cats and their tiny living space in an old rundown animal hospital in the outskirts of Seoul. While documenting these cats living on the cat tower she observes the night street scenes, back-to-back houses near the area and the people who inhabit them. The lives of cats witnessed at night become an object of displacement with ease. She explains the notion of ‘bare life’ through the photographic imagery of these two cats and the scenery of rundown back-to-back houses. She also published a book containing within a short story narrating cat’s life called ‘O’ or the state of human condition. The narrator in this story divided into three parts might be the artist herself, a cat or a strange passer-by. The scenery of landscapes is solitary and becomes fragmented like a riddle. Her photographic work shows the night scene, which is blurred and out of focus. The gazes are unstable as well as ambiguous as if drunken pedestrians in the streets took the photographs by using many different cameras instead of using a single camera with a fixed perspective. The main subject matter of these photographs is not about portraying the cats roaming at night that the artist was chasing. Rather it is about the nocturnal landscape itself, which is associated with a presence of cat.
In his autobiographical novel 「Confessions of A Mask」(1949) Mishima Yukio claims that "The essence of confessing is that confession is impossible. Nobody can present their real face. Only a mask of flesh can make confessions." The subtle crevices embedded within the everyday that chased by the artist are, in fact, the gap existing within herself or in her own life. From this point of view her approach remains private. Therefore the artist transfers secretive emotions to the objects of ‘water’ and ‘cats,’ and attempts to transform personal narratives into the sympathetic domain of the universal. The artist's attempt is courageous yet still proceeds carefully. As Mishima had perceived earlier on, the confessions of an artist hidden underneath a mask seem unlikely possible and it is because in order for confession to become possible one must necessarily tear off their own mask, which has become embedded in their flesh.