Jung Yeon Min: Nomad
December 8, 2011 - March 24, 2012
Galerie Kashya Hildebrand is pleased to present new works from Korean artist Jung-Yeon Min. Building on the success of her two previous solo exhibitions in Switzerland in 2007 and 2009, Min’s third solo show, entitled Nomad, courageously explores new ground and provides a more intimate experience of this artist’s unique vision.
Like her previous shows, Nomad continues to evoke Min’s dreamlike atmosphere, drawing the viewer into mysterious and fantastic worlds filled with a labyrinth of secret passageways and hidden dimensions, where organic forms contrast with geometric grids. All of these elements are combined in artistic compositions that effortlessly undermine the normal constraints of everyday physical reality. However, in this new exhibition, Min provides a new opportunity to deepen our engagement with her work by presenting a number of drawings on paper as well as the more familiar paintings.
While drawing has consistently been a part of Min’s practice, exhibiting these drawings is a new and intimate encounter for her. Drawing’s emphasis on observation and mark-making has allowed her to encounter in another medium the breaks with reality that often emerges from within her work. At the same time, the return to drawing and the reduction of materiality in the drawing process as compared to painting has fostered within herself a reconnection with her childhood and with her earliest memories of learning about the concepts of evolution, biology and Darwin.
Her oeuvre has often used visual elements that reference microscopic cellular and muscular forms found within animal or plant rhizomes. However, while she first made use of these elements unconsciously, she explains that now she is exploring the importance of the unseen, genetic mechanisms of evolution more directly: “my creations are moving, transforming and creating a situation within systems structured to survive and to continue to exist.” What fascinates her is the fact that organic systems evolve differently to adapt to the contingencies of their environment, a process that defines where they could and should be. In Nomad, then, she has begun to reconsider her recent interest in philosophy, especially the work of French philosophers Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, from the point of view of the work of evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins. For Dawkins, “It is differences that matter in the competitive struggle to survive; and it is genetically-controlled differences that matter in evolution” (Dawkins, The Selfish Gene, 37).
The works of this exhibition take the ideas of genetic adaptation and hold them in parallel with the Deleuzian concept of the Nomad. For Deleuze, a “nomadic state” is a way of being when one is in the middle between points, when on a journey between two points on a path; it is movement within the “intermezzo”. In Min’s work, the nomadic structure emerges in how the visual elements are chosen according to the size and shape of the visual situation and how they evolve differently in response to the environmental factors of the work. For example, in Nomad 1-3, we seem to have 3 different experiences of an explosion taking place within a home environment. The relationship between the 3 works does not evoke the movement of this explosion happening over time; instead, it creates 3 different intensities of experience, as though it is documenting the differential of potentials within our evolutionary moment. The works can be seen as reminders that creating a home -- a place where an organism can survive and thrive -- depends on differences that have occurred at the level of the gene -- and that certain microscopic structures define what a home looks like. In this way, the tiny systems are "bigger" than the home because they are the force that shapes and defines what the home needs to look like. Here, the unseen shapes the seen.
Jung-Yeon Min was born in Kwang-ju, South Korea in 1979. After her studies at the Hong-Ik University in Seoul, she graduated from the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, where she now lives and works.