Yeo Daham

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2003 Haja Procution School, Seoul, Korea

Solo & Duo Exhibition
2013 TIMBER!, Art Space Pool, Seoul (as collective AC Publishing)
2012 The Outpost of Floating Weeds, Gallery Sangsangmadang, Seoul
2011 Domestic Dust Ground Control, Ccull Pool Residence Open Studio, Ccull Pool, Seoul

Group Exhibition
2012 Exercise of Doing, Playtime, Culture Station Seoul 284, Seoul
2012 Don't Worry, Be Worry, Ilmac Art Prize Exhibition, Boan Inn, Seoul
2012 A Vanishing Detective-Scrutinize a Detective, 2012 Busan Biennale, Busan Culture Center, Busan
2012 Cabinet of Artists, Gallery 175, Seoul

2012 The 2nd Ilmac Art Prize

2013 Seoul Art Space_Geumcheon, Seoul Foundation for Arts and Culture

Proverbs Rather Than Poems!
Kim Hak Ryang, Curator(Professor of Dongduk Women’s University)

Pablo Picasso said: What is art? I know what it is, save for the minute someone asks. It’s pretty similar to me. I do my work in fear of the emptiness I might feel when I die. I would like to submit myself to many situations: laying my body on a desert, sitting on top of a rocky mountain, or dipping my body in a remote pond in a deep valley,” Yeo daham stated at a talk in Ilmaek Art Prize 2012. I think we have no way out from “delusions” or “illusions”. These elements and our bodies are like a magnet’s poles. The two poles, as elements, and our bodies form a magnetic field, pushing and pulling each other. (What a wonderful drawing it is!) The procedure or process of using the body, shuttling between illusion and disillusion can be seen as a significant ritual pertaining to life and death. To put it more emphatically, this can be a schema breathing vitality to the world. The unity of knowledge and conduct Kang Sudol mentions is perfectly coincident with the Confucius’ aphorism: “Isn’t it a pleasure to study and practice what you have learned?” Practicing after learning is like hauling one’s body to a subtle, intricate context. A magnetic field at last can be drawn at this moment, and the world comes into my body. At this time one can perceive his body as a musical instrument playing cosmic rhythms for the first time. Pianist Glenn Gould folds his body at the piano, Rim Dong Shik echoes “physical waves”, Hong Myung Seop becomes a walking machine as “a sort of primal self-play”, and herdsman Lhapa and his companions travels 1,500kms from his village in Sichuan to Lhasa, Tibet while practicing wu ti tou di (五体投 地) (Full bowing or prostration with five parts of the body: two knees, tow elbows, and forehead). (Have you heard of their reckless, harsh practice of asceticism? It is said their practice is to wish for the peace of all living beings!) Actions for others’ benefit are already pervasive in our surroundings, in disregard of any calculation of “filling and emptying”. At this point we might feel absurd even to the question of why we have to do art. I would like to read Cho Eun’s poem A Thin Path to viewers: “A twig without a single bunch of flowers / Glitters and approaches me / As if to go somewhere via me.”

먼지 관제탑, 관측기 #1, 2011, 아트스페이스 꿀풀

먼지 관제탑 관측기 #2, 2011, 아트스페이스 꿀풀

먼지 관제탑 관측기 #4, 2012, 보안여관

여다함, 여혜진/ 부초의 초소, 2012, 상상마당

여다함, 유지완/ 불구경, 2012, 설치·퍼포먼스, 문화역서울284

 만마력 사운드, 2011, 상상마당

여다함, AC publishing/ accident, 2013

Yeo Daham‘s Three Temporality
Ko Byeong Kwon (philosopher)

1. The future-ancient philologist's archive
Isn't it today's ancient philology or archaeological anthropology? I thought like that when I first saw several works of Yeo Daham. The embossed carving, <The Dead Fire 1>(2014) is made by taking a plaster cast of goods' plastic packaging materials and it looks like the hieroglyphics used in the ancient Mayan and Egyptian civilizations. Indeed, we can say that goods are today's hieroglyphics. Actually, Marx called commodities 'hieroglyphics(Hieroglyphe)' which we have to decode. What a certain object become a commodity means that something 'extrasensory' and 'ghostlike' covers the property of matter. Therefore, the value which is different from the utility value of the original object sticks to it, but we can't sense the value and are only able to decipher. The packaging material seems to me like a sensuous symbol for such a extrasensory thing.
Similarly, I was also impressed with the artist's other works. The keys in his another work, <The Dead Fire 2>(2014) look like the ancient stone statues unearthed just recently, and the names under those seem to be the protagonists of the tombs from where the keys were pulled out. If there is a ancient philologist excavating our times, he would certainly treat the advertisement flyer in his work, <Seoul Logger>(2014) like a parchment. He would interpretate our times, decoding the sacred words written on these ancient documents, such as ‘night-club for adults’, ‘free room and board are provided', 'demolishing service'. Seen from this context, we can also understand his work, <Tu Fu (杜甫)>(2012) which a taxi driver's vehicle log hangs up like a ancient Chinese poem.
But, we don't misunderstand it because of a nuance of the word, ancient philology. In my view, the artist is an ancient philologist not studying the past, but the future. That is because if the artist would treat our times like a relic of the remote past, and experience the contemporary Seoul as a big ancient document archive, he has to put the times of himself and the audience on the distant future. Therefore, we have to decode and interpretate these unfamiliar and strange times as the persons came from the far distant future.
2. The present-scientist's laboratory
Yeo Daham's other works are the meticulous observation and experiment report. In other words, the artist is a scientist who observes and experiments our times. In his work, <The Outpost of Floating Weed>(2012), we can find the artist's discernment. The artist discovered a floating continent, the taxi. Because there are 70,000 taxis in Seoul, assuming that a taxi has one pyeong[Korean land unit], we can say that nearly 70,000 pyeongs are floating. The artist used the taxi which nobody keeps an eye on and just passes by here and there not only as a instrumentation tool to observe and analyse Seoul, but also as a space of life in where the activities of every day life, politics and religion take place, and as a artistic, experimental space where transforms the life.
<Dust Observation Device>(2012) itself is a laboratory. In this work, the devices which can observe the movement of the dust particles were installed. In <Dust Observation Device>(2012), the artist marks the moving route of the dust like the control tower monitor which marks the airplane's location and movement. <Dust Collection>(2005) was based on the dusts which the artist collected as an assay sample in the places where he passed by for many years. He calls the dust 'dead skin cell of a space' and analyses our space of life and ecosystem through analysing the dust.
The minute observation and analysis leads to the very interesting experiments which overturn the value and meaning. The artist knows how to transform the value and meaning into the opposite direction without a big physical transformation, no, rather without any physical transformation. So, he can make common every-day items into a dangerous weapon and transform a dreadful watch space into a pleasant entertainment space without a blow. So to speak, <Ten Thousand Horsepower Poster>(2012) is a experiment to make a watcher monitoring CCTV to be degraded into only a viewer through a simple performance. The same is true of <Will to be a bastard>(2014). To destroy idol, it would be enough for us to see it just under different lighting, in other words, under the different interpretation. If we just name 'pose selling a soul', 'pose opposing against a comic talk' on the bronze statues built with a solemn gravity, the idol would collapse, causing the explosive laughter.
3. The past-collector's bag
When I first met with Yeo Daham, I was very impressed with the big bag which he carried. According to his words, he put everything in sight into the bag. Seen from an interview, it seems like that the artist has a hobby to collect and record something. Even if useless now, the artist just collects something. And some day, he would make his works by using the collected things like in the case of the dust-related works which continued to be made from 2005 to 2012. The artist doesn't consciously collect to make his work, but takes out the collected, accumulated things and make those into the works.
The artist's gathering bag is a place to keep the past. In other words, the things which are accumulated in his bag are the past. While the present is a moment focused on usefulness, the past is a continuation which the unuseful things are accumulated. In my view, Yeo Daham is a person who collects the unuseful past right now and carries those things. He collects the things abandoned owing to their loss of utility and the stories which have not been made into dramas. He is not a poet who invents the words, but a folklorist who collects the words. It seems like his creativity comes from the reconfiguration and reinterpretation of the collected things.
Here, don't confuse what someone collects something with what someone possesses something. What he collects is something that people can't own or don't own. In the language of Erich Fromm, his collecting behavior is related to 'existence', not to 'possession'. In a capitalist society, possession is a way relating with the objects at only one side. Even if seeing the jewels, people don't pay attention to the colors and fixtures, but only to their price. And at the core, there is a right to disposal. In a capitalist society, what someone owns something means that he or she can sell a thing off. If he or she can't, it means that he or she doesn't own it. On the contrary, if he or she can, even the lover is his or her possession. As the ownership is strengthened, it is not my part any more and can easily be sold off. On the contrary, as it becomes a big part of a existence, in other words, as it exists in a more various forms, I possess much less than before.

The performance, <Totally Miss You Honesty>(2012) which is about the lost items of the taxi passengers, is a story about the things which were someone's possessions but unsought any more. After losing their masters, the things losing the very thin string of possession wander in the lost property office like animals wandering in the street. In my view, it seems like that Yeo Daham attempts not to connect the lost items to the original owners, but recover the things' inherent wild spirit. His bag looks like a place storing the potential or wild spirit of a existence hidden and reduced under the partial aspect of the possession. The things, the past didn't die as far as his bag exists.