Dichotomic

May 31 - July 6, 2007

Gallery Korea of the Korean Cultural Service NY
Opening Reception: May 31, 2007, 6 - 8pm


Gallery Korea of the Korean Cultural Service NY is pleased to present the exhibition DICHOTOMIC from May 31 – July 6, 2007, which features the mixed media works of six Korean born artists, Jae Won Chang, Mi Ran Yu, Jaye Moon, Cheo Park, Donna Stack and Eun Sun Lee. The show was curated by Elga Wimmer, New York. Opening reception is taking place on Thursday May 31st, 2007, from 6 – 8 PM. 

The six artists in this exhibition explore the meaning of dichotomy in all its multiple and various forms of dualism: fact/fiction, surface/depth, form/content, art/politics, attraction/resistance, opaque/ transparent, private/public, dominant/submissive, feminine/masculine, activist/pacifist, spiritual/industrial, simplicity/complexity, Yin/Yang. 

Jae Won Chang's paintings look “almost minimal” but leave a lot to chance. As the artist explains, unlike minimalists like Agnes Martin, he “allows” the hand to make mistakes when attempting to draw a pristine straight line, circle, or square. His paintings reflect the commonalties found in the Yin and Yang concept in Asian thought and the dialectic theory rooted in German philosophy. The groups of organic patterns and textures are often onverging as if culture and nature represented the same basic phenomenon. The artist also refers to automatism. Automatism was always an important aspect in calligraphy. It was interpreted by artists in Europe in the early century, when Asian art became for the first time a big influence. 
By repeating interchangeable geometric and biological forms, Jae Won Chang brings this classic idea to a contemporary expression. 

Mi Ran Yu takes a poetic and artistic approach to social issues in East Asia. She uses at various locations different strategies to approach each audience and to emphasize various humanitarian issues. Mi Ran's works consists of “blue butterfly” images to symbolize her message. Eyes are superimposed on blue butterflies, giving the insect an eerie, human aspect. These images are shown in Plexiglas boxes or as in a recent show in Seoul projected onto a public space. The aesthetic language of her works is a vital tool to bring awareness to the viewers. 

Jaye Moon is interested in architectural space and manipulating objects. Her sculptures play with opaque and luminous aspects, and are functional as well as toys, architectural as well as decorative, unique as well as ready-made. Her suitcases, furniture drawers, filing cabinets, and storage containers represent the conceptual idea of portable and instant lifestyles, so prevalent in our society. Moon's sculptures are like exquisite architectural models – ranging from art and design to the excesses of consumer culture. 

Cheo Park's work is about emotional vulnerability and protection. His bubble wrap series was the starting point of this concept. A suit of bubble wrap envelops a body, protecting and exposing it simultaneously. For the new series the artist covers digital images from medical anatomy books with actual yakuza tattoo. The tattoo represents a powerful symbol and protection – a furtive effort against attack and violence. At the same time, especially in Asian culture, these artful images burnt onto skin represent an invisible armor. 

Donna Stack deals with issues of self and identity. Being Caucasian (North American) and Asian (Korean) she draws on both experiences and cultures. Besides the struggle and simultaneous blessing of belonging to both of these worlds, she is also exploring the boundaries of endurance such as in the video work “Eating Peppers (I dare you),” 2004. The artist eats hot pepper dipped in hot sauce until she actually gets sick. The viewer becomes totally submerged in this action, as if living this as his or her own experience. In “Handsewn,” a video from 2003, the artist is sewing black threads into her hand, then pulling them out. This seemingly painful performance reflects on “touching the surface” of an object, leaving it nevertheless unharmed after a violent intrusion. 
Again symbolically the artist talks about clashes of cultures, which in the end leave traces either “only” skin-deep or profound. 

Eun Sun Lee in her video installation “Breathe in Between” touches on the relationship of people with literally all its “ups and downs.” The work features heads constantly submerging and emerging from water in synchronicity, a union of fluids inhaling and exhaling. 
It recalls the famous ‘70s performance of Marina Abramovic and Ulay seemingly “kissing,” but in fact exhaling and inhaling: Ulay says: 'I am breathing in oxygen. I am breathing out carbon dioxide.' Abramovic: 'I am breathing in carbon dioxide. I am breathing out carbon dioxide.' Ulay: 'I am breathing in carbon dioxide.' Eun Sun remarks about her work: “The clash, failures, and resistance are ironically functioning as binding people. I found that this harmonic resistibility between people are just beautiful.” Eun Sun's video work visualizes the struggle and simultaneous harmony of any true relationship. 


Drawn in between cultures the artists in “Dichotomic” experience the same issues as any of their contemporaries. In their case, however, it often reflects a multiplicity and dichotomy which is precisely what makes their work so intriguing and insightful for the viewer. 


Gallery hours are 10:00 am to 5:00 pm from Monday through Friday (appointment only for 5:00pm to 7:00 pm Monday through Friday, and 10:00am to 4:00pm on Saturday). For more information, contact Yu Jin Hwang, curator of Gallery Korea, Korean Cultural Service NY at 212-759-9550 or nyarts@koreanculture.org

Miro Yoon