• Michael Joo, Exit From The House Of Being

    Date posted: July 11, 2012 Author: jolanta

    Joo applies this highly reflexive paint like a defiant Abstract Expressionist confronting his oppressors. The paint is at once a motif of socio-politicised territoriality; an issue of political divides and boundaries that become physical. It also serves a conceptually multifaceted purpose as the paint works to tie space together—even the face of the shields to the walls of the gallery. But this canvas of glass isn’t flat, it has a convex surface, causing a homogenisation of the language of space in art.

    “The paint is at once a motif of socio-politicised territoriality; an issue of political divides and boundaries that become physical.”

    Michael Joo, Man Made Monstrous (Noesis), 2012. Water based enamel paint on cast polyurethane resin, 25.5 x 24 x 19.5 in. Photo Credit: Michael Joo Studio. Courtesy of the artist and Blain|Southern


     

    Michael Joo, Exit From The House Of Being

    By Paul Black

    “Exit From The House of Being”—Michael Joo’s inaugural exhibition at the Blain/Southern gallery in London—exemplifies the crux of Joo’s multilayered oeuvre. At once rich in form and material; each work is a complex conceptual system in a dialogue with its surrounding space and encompassing the viewer as part of its equation. Each of the works on display subvert and reformulate the viewers’ perceptions of ‘spatial territory': physical, subjective, architectural, environmental, and even socio-political.

    The works Expanded Access are made of a series of stanchions and ropes coated with borosilicate glass—a material originally created for orbital telescopes—that sporadically fuse with the walls of the gallery while ceasing to demarcate a utilitarian space. The viewer is denied access and reflected; the traditional
    rules of admittance and spatial/social conformity are skewed. The second work on display, We/Us is a series of ‘riot shield’ forms of convex borosilicate reflectivity that mirror the viewer through a surface of paint. Joo applies this highly reflexive paint like a defiant Abstract Expressionist confronting his oppressors. The paint is at once a motif of socio-politicised territoriality; an issue of political divides and boundaries that become physical. It also serves a conceptually multifaceted purpose as the paint works to tie space together—even the face of the shields to the walls of the gallery. But this canvas of glass isn’t flat, it has a convex surface, causing a homogenisation of the language of space in art. Here, traditional definitions of painting and sculpture are threatened, while the concave enclaves of the shields imply a protective space, but without function.

    Michael Joo, Untitled (Santiago, 7.9.11 – v1.0), 2012. Aluminized low-iron glass, oil based enamel paint 6 Shields, 48 x 139.5 x 4 in / Each shield: 48 x 23.25 x 4 in. Photo Credit: Michael Joo Studio. Courtesy of the artist and Blain|Southern

    Both bodies of work center on the orientation of the viewer, a reflective materiality, an implied defiance of gravity as in Expanded Access, and the topography of the gallery; all subverted spatial constructs that simultaneously include and exclude the viewer.

    There is an assured concreteness to Joo’s conceptuality; And a Beuysian knowing to his use of materiality; The liquid blue casts of his antler moulds in Man Made Monstrous imply the negative space of missing antlers—to be found ‘outside’ as organic agents—while the sculptures allude to their function of domestic display and trophy ‘inside,’ but remain hollow.

    Joo’s practice associates materiality with the conceptual underpinnings of a work. The metamorphic fluidity of borosilicate shields and stanchions and polyurethane resin of the antlers evinces an illusionary spatial movement, reflecting Joo’s contradictory spaces and metaphysical phenomenology.

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