Black Moon: Jaeyoung Jung At GALLERY2

Black Moon: Jaeyoung Jung
Presented by GALLERY 2
20 Oct 2016 — 19 Nov 2016
Installation views courtesy the artist and GALLERY2

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Things have a life too (I think). However, the difference, compared to an animal/plant, is that they are not independent. The vitality of things are fueled by their user. We find it hard to throw out things though they have lost their original functions. This is not a matter of physical but emotional survival. After all, what kills and saves is not the unique function of a thing but is based on user’s empathy. Our attitude is always ambiguous in between ‘storing’ and ‘disposing’ of a thing. Jaeyoung Jeong completely muted the function of an object by covering his belonging, transforming it into an emotional object.

The solo exhibition of Jaeyoung Jeong titled The Dark Moon, which will be held at Gallery 2, consists of all his belongings. Jeong spread charcoal over some of his things that had been in his studio, and polished them well until they turn sleek. The objects were selected as artwork not because of their formal characteristics or the artist’s unforgettable memories of them. Each object does not account for any meaning, they were just there in his studio. They are witnesses who testify to the artist thinking and creating work. It is their fate that someday they will, however, disappear and wear out eventually. Jeong transplants a new skin onto the objects. By means of spreading charcoal over them multiple times, the artist defaces their original surface and turns them into something new. This mystery of transformation stems from the dark color of charcoal.

Black is a deep abyss and the far-off night sky. It is the world that silences everything. The invisible world. The darkness of charcoal bleaches color and textures unique to the objects, reshaping them into strange and mystic beings. Because it generates higher temperatures than normal wood, charcoal is usually used as a fuel. Charcoal is a product of carbonizing wood, a mass of carbon. In the process of burning, wood is transformed into charcoal, rather than disappearing into nothingness. The birth of charcoal is a fantasy and alchemy only created by nature.

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Jaeyoung Jeong mixes charcoal powder with liquid polyurethane to apply to objects. Polishing work begins after charcoal powder is fixed onto the surface. Regardless of the size, soft objects demand more work in both fixing and polishing. In the process of polishing the surface, charcoal powder can break, or the surface of the object can be exposed. It is work that takes a long time and meticulous work. Two primary ways of making a three dimensional work?adding and removing?are simultaneously applied. The artist mentioned that he put a great deal of effort into polishing the surface to make the work look brand new.

The highlight of this exhibition should be the clock work. The round wall clock covered in dark charcoal seems to be the dark moon. Near it audiences can hear the tick sound of the clock. Today, three dimensional work resembling an object, becomes universal and Jeong’s work seems to in the same circle. The faint tick sound which viewers can so easily miss, unless they come close and hear out, emphasizes that his work is not just a cast of an object but an object itself. The work of covering his belongs with charcoal and polishing them is standing somewhere in between verbs “to stuff/to protect/to collect/to regenerate.” It is hard to conclude whether Jeong’s new work was a product of his understanding and interaction with charcoal, the medium in which he has constantly been working, or an unavoidable choice according to a theme or an intention of the work. It is a rebirth of wood as charcoal in abandoning its characteristics, and a rebirth of an object as a solely emotional thing in losing its function?that is, both the essence of his materials and the theme of his work.

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