THEO presents a group exhibition, YES, My 로드 <Lord, Load, Road>, from August 19 to September 16, 2022.
‘로드’ from the Korean exhibition title, Yes, My 로드, is a vague phonetic translation that can lead to three different interpretations, which are the reference points of this exhibition.
This title can refer to ‘Lord’ of Jesus Christ or to ‘Lord’ of noble rank. It may be interpreted as an ‘idol’ of religion or may symbolize an idolized one or one in high class, assuming that the art world is a class system (like a religious community). This exhibition is characterized by such narrative either directly or metaphorically as the three participating artists are influenced by religious narratives in distinct ways.
While it generally means to load/recall a program on a computer, its original meaning is ‘to stack’, ‘to store’. By ‘loading’ or ‘recalling’ the artist’s ‘accumulated’ art narrative, the exhibition sets a meta-analytical tone.
It is interpreted as the ‘path (to achievement)’. It can point to the training process of becoming a religious believer or to the growth of becoming an artist. While this exhibition itself will form only a fragment of the artist’s journey, the exhibition takes on a multi-layered narrative structure by presenting already accumulated narratives, and furthermore, examines the possibility of a ‘path to future’ that can anticipate the direction of the artist’s journey.
*Errors or gaps in understanding caused by translation are also considered a phenomenon and a part of the reference points.
Yunhee Lee (b. 1986) has continued her work in the form of ceramic sculptures that constitute a universal narrative with the motif of Dante’s “The Divine Comedy”. Each work consists of an imaginary image or a scene of the narrative conveyed through various symbolism and expression styles from the East and the West. Although it is based on Dante’s “The Divine Comedy”, which is a collection of Western religious/mythical motifs, it is interesting to see a mixture of names such as “Night of Pian” and traditional Eastern expressions and styles, creating anticipation for Lee’s own narrative and the stories that will follow. Since “The Divine Comedy” already deals with the epic journey through hell and purgatory to heaven, the fact that there is more room to construct a new narrative with various sculpted portraits and sculptures within the multilayered epic reveals the possibility of endless expansion of the artist’s worldview.
Grim Park (b. 1987) deals with various contemporary narratives, including queer content, by applying traditional Buddhist silk painting techniques. Starting with the series “Hwarangdo (花郞徒) – a crowd of beautiful men” from 2018, which explored narcissism of SNS influencers as a result of processing his own self-hatred, Park has been creating work revolving around various traits of a minority that he himself is. His works are conceived by combining Buddhist narrative with personal/social accounts or from the process of decomposition/recombination. In this way, Lee discusses diverse individual/social forms of the ‘will to overcome’ in various series, such as “Shimhodo”, which appropriates the Buddhist murals ‘Shimu-do’ with his personal narrative, and in “Holy Things”, which implements traditional forms of expression on contemporary narrative and images, as well as in the series, “Turning to the Darkside”, which examines the reversal of dichotomous narratives/characters.
Seungwan HA (b. 1992) expresses images through a method of reproduction and seeks discourse on contemporary narratives by reconstructing events after imitating the narrative structure of stories collected in diverse ways. While this process embodies an endless cyclic structure, it expands along with the artist’s worldview. The vast volume of collected narratives, which include myths, tales, and biblical content, are expanded/modified through creative approaches to provide an image that can represent various timelines. Consequently, the viewers are presented with various translations and interpretations as contemporary social context combine with virtual/imaginary narrative. In this process, various errors are generated, and these errors function as a way to explore the essence with new implications.
An era has come, where visual image is most emphasized. Various media also voice concern about literacy, along with the expression ‘the era of reading no more’. Let us set past and present (or future) in one timeline as we reflect on the distant past and examine the meaning and role of religious/idol/spiritual art in a time of high illiteracy, and return to the present, exploring the meaning and role of contemporary artworks. With this ‘approach to view the contemporary era through history and to inversely look back with today’s vantage point’, the exhibition hopes to draw various understandings of the 1)relationship between the artist and the artwork, 2)relationship between the artists (artworks), 3)relationship between the artists (artworks) and the exhibition. Ultimately, we attempt to overcome the recent tendency of exhibition in which only fragments of visual images are consumed trendily and on the contrary, apply this idea to explore/try the form of exhibition that allows the viewers to actively engage and interpret through images only.
Chanyong Chong (THEO Assistant director)