Vacant Circumstances: this and something else - Dong Kyoon Nam @ Aceartinc

Dong Kyoon Nam's solo show at the Ace Art gallery is a collection of 5 installations, each of which uses common household items in a provocative way, calling attention to our reliance on objects and the frightening control they can have on our lives.

The most striking pieces for me were Event Horizon and Just Once.

Event Horizon consists of clock timers and fluorescent light fixtures mounted on a long wall, and a short bit of the perpindicular wall adjacent to it. The lights glow down on the wall, reminiscent of hip nightclub lighting, but as you approach the installation, the incessant ticking of the clock timers grows louder and louder, to a point where it is overwhelming. It immediately called awareness to our obsession with time; i caught my thoughts wandering in that direction, and had to remind myself i wasn't in a hurry. What is even more interesting is that upon hearing the ticking, even walking to other parts of the gallery where I had previously stood unaware of the sound, the sound resonated (whether actually or just in my head I couldn't say).

Just Once is created of two tall fans, clicked on and facing toward one another, wrapped in white extension cords. I could not help but think of the fans as two lovers, facing one another, trapped in embrace. The human quality of these two fans pushing at one another non-stop triggered thoughts of the constant barrage of sound and intensity we often throw at our loved ones, without pause to listen and take them in.

This is an excellent show, and it is free - so I highly recommend you check it out!


Review - Song Dong: Waste Not @ Barbican (The Curve)

I had been meaning to take in this installation for some time, and today, after an afternoon at the Museum of London, turned out to be the perfect opportunity. I began with reading the lengthy introduction Song Dong provides to the piece, outlining a significant amount of detail on the inspiration, notably his mother's life. Growing up in post-war China under communist rule, she was raised in a time of extreme frugality to ensure survival. As her life grew and changed, the need for this intense frugality waned, however her need to save - anything and everything - remained. The way Dong describes it, it is as if the objects began to fill voids and harbour memories she was unwilling to let go of.

At a glance, this could just look like a pile of stuff, which really could be from anyone's house. But upon a slow, careful inspection, each item has been kept and cared for in a very specific manner; plastic bags folded in neat triangles, squares of fabric scraps wrapped with string or ribbon, books piled neatly. And Dong's arrangement within the gallery takes the viewer from the impersonal to the personal, moving from bowls and pots, to boxes and toys, and finally to clothes and shoes. It is remarkable the things that make you realize how far away from home you are; whilst looking at the installation, it occurred to me that many of the objects are similar to those my mother has kept around the house. Unlike Dong, I often encourage my mother to get rid of things she is keeping for sentimental reasons that are no longer of use. This installation and its memory-infested objects hit home, and caused me to re-consider this perspective.

I strongly recommend checking this out. It is free, and runs to 12 June, 2012 in the Barbican Curve Gallery.

Link Here: http://www.barbican.org.uk/artgallery/event-detail.asp?ID=12878