Chance and fate have dictated that I am currently housemates with Korean artist Nakhee Sung at the moment, here at my home, Raid Projects. It's quite serendipitous, then, that LACMA should have an exhibit of contemporary Korean art at the same time. The show is indeed a good time. Christopher Knight has chided it as “90’s festival art”, and though I agree it has some dull spots, overall it made me want to go to Seoul and make video art.
A standout was Choi Jeong-Hwa’s plastic container installation that should have been a few acres bigger, but provided a delightful forest to lose oneself in. It was an interesting contrast to the other “forest” on the LACMA campus – Burdens streetlights – whose permanent status on the grounds served to highlight how disposable Choi’s materials end up being.
Of course, Do Ho Suh’s pieces kicked everyone’s dick in the dirt. His ability to get so much artistic mileage out of the places he has lived as the source for his work is mind bending. His brother’s an architect Nakhee tells me.
Love that Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries, wish they would have mounted the monitor in the elevator, to see how they play off of the permanent Krueger installation. My favorite in the whole show, however, was Kimsooja’s unbelievably provocative video installation A Needle Woman. So achingly simple, so hypnotically compelling, so tellingly revealing, she has managed to concisely and articulately show how contrary to conventional wisdom it is to literally take a stand. Kim does nothing in these videos, and yet the audacity of her stillness so quickly instills a similar notion in the viewer. The presentation of multiple videos from all over the world make the universality of her stance (and her stance) visually and poetically apparent. One simple move, or more correctly a lack of moving, and Kim has transformed herself into a force of nature, dictating the direction of the humanity around her, instead of the other way around. An inspiring solution to anyone who has felt caught up in life’s flow.
Plenty of other goofy and great pieces, by other goofy and great artists, an overall paradoxical feeling of a group of artists at different forms of play, yet united by something globally plugged in, but decidedly non-Occidental. A heavy prevalence on video is a badge worn almost patriotically in this show, and a picture of Korea is presented that makes a case for a country whose artistic identity could easily be the meat in an Asian contemporary art sandwich, surrounded by the hearty bread of China and Japan. But only as long as it’s one of those Vietnamese sandwiches. Because those are fucking tasty.