Jewyo Rhii, "Airport Romance"
Jewyo Rhii "Airport Romance"
vom 11. April - 17. May 2008
Freitag, 11. April 2008 von 6 - 9 pm
After showing the work of Jewyo Rhii, an artist born and working in Seoul, within the framework of a series of exhibitions curated by Miya Yoshida last year, I am happy to present you the European premiere of "Airport Romance", another major work of this artist.
"Jewyo Rhii is a very good example for those rare contemporary artists who successfully and seemingly without much effort integrate subjective realities into an artistic vision of the world around them - using every detail within their reach to weave a poetic web of interrelated feelings and facts. Through her incredibly intense and painstakingly close observation, Rhii can create affectionate, warmly humorous images that communicate both physically and mentally with her environment. Yet underneath such a surface, there is also a surprisingly strong sense of frustration, and even despair.
This important impulse of a negative romantic attitude in Rhii's works stems from a lover's discourse, which is distinctively reflected in her latest series of works that are based on elements of love stories. A first love story has been visible in the gallery before: the video installation "Lie on Han River" (2005) that visually and acoustically (it contains a sound contribution by the artist David Michael DiGregorio) draws upon a semi-fictitious narrative of despair and loss, held together by emotionally charged, improvised and almost haphazard drawings with a pop-cultural tonality. The despair in this story of a lost love - lovers are invited to come back to the banks of the Han River, unwelcoming site of their romantic meetings and lured into a series of ingenuous contraptions and inventions intended to overcome or screen out the harsh conditions that put an early end to the love story - reaches beyond the personal while clearly eschewing banal universalism of a 'such is the never simple and diverse nature of love' kind.
The second work relevant in this context is "Airport Romance" (2007) which, after competing for the Hermès Art Award in South Korea, will be presented here for the first time outside of Asia: a big installation that mainly consists of a song, together with a text book with lyrics, an unidentified object and a series of drawings of the angry face of a middle-aged man. Both love stories are actually reflections of the artist's experience of a nomadic existence led for over fifteen years: the reflections which accumulate not only feelings of liberation but also moments of excitement of getting in touch with the new - people and experiences - together with a constant sense of loss of what the artist had.
Nomadic life in the interstitial spaces of global politics also confronts us with unfairness, discrimination, even humiliation on a daily basis. Presence is merely an irritating moment just before another forced absence. Airports are often described as "non-places" - due to their heavily padded, spatial neutrality and their character of sites of passage. Today, under the intensified security sanctions of recent years, not only for Rhii airports have become places a whole industry of preparing and processing human beings for their next destination, and as such, they also again figure as sites and sources of Rhii's desperation for love and its loss."