정신궁전 (Mind Palace)
This past week, I had the opportunity to see my friend’s exhibition, 정신궁전 (in English, Mind Palace). For the exhibition, artists were asked to create work inspired by a monotonous and plot-less text written by Korean writer, Min Jin Lee. The Lee’s text appropriates another text by Sophie Leger, which appropriates yet another text called Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett. The exhibited artworks then explore a sort of an idea of multi-layered or multi-staged appropriation. Appropriation is the idea of taking someone else’s work and using it in your own work, often making little to no changes to the original work.
Lee Seoyoung’s installation that includes the three works A24, A24’, and A24’’ explores the concept of appropriation. The artist randomly selected still images from her previous video artworks and found footage from her archive saved on her hard drive. Lee organized these images into a list format, which is the base for the three iterations of the work. From this list, Lee created a single channel video that plays the still images one after the other. Another iteration is a large print of a single still image on a 180 x 1000cm fabric, which acts as a curtain to separate the video viewing area from the rest of the exhibition. The last piece of her installation, A24’’ is a bound book containing prints of all the selected still images in the exact order that was created from the original list. Lee Seoyoung aptly mirrors Min Jin Lee’s text through her multifold approach to appropriation. However rather than appropriating text that has already been appropriated, Lee appropriates her selections of images, which was appropriated from her hard drive, the whole project having been appropriating Min Jin Lee’s text.
Park Taeseok presents three lithographs inspired by death and objectivity. Lee’s text references a concept of objectivity, which inspires Park in the context that his grandfather recently passed away and was cremated, becoming a mere object: ashes. Park appropriates this concept of objectivity in his darkly hued prints that feature skeletal imagery to reflect his recent experience of loss. In one of these prints, he directly footnotes a passage from Lee’s text as the source material.
Jonggeun Suh’s curatorial debut, 정신궁전 (Mind Palace), features diverse media including video, painting, sculpture, and prints, and is skillfully strung together providing examples for looser interpretations of appropriation.
정신궁전 closes May 14. Addresss: 동소문동 1가 52 지하1층.