A Public Message for Different Directions

Jihye Kim, misulsegye

Distrusts and concerns over political attempts in art have long begun, and thus, a demand for new aesthetics has followed and invoked as well. In this context, Young In Hong’s Somewhere Between and Triptych: A Wishful Song have a new meaning because, she is pointing at the gap instead of combining or reflecting. Art works are destined to include a part of reality in certain ways or in certain ranges, and the so called reality contains the spirit of the time and/or sociopolitical implications. Thus, in a strict sense, it is unavoidable for an artwork to include a piece of reality, in which the artist lives, metaphorically, sarcastically or in a distorted form.
Young In Hong’s ‘Violation of Publicness Project’ seems to be showing it in various forms, and the same applies for his recent exhibition ‘City Rituals: Gestures.’ In 2004, she presented a work, in which she had wrapped the police station in Samcheong-dong and the post office in Anguk-dong in red mesh cloth that evokes erotic and secretive feelings, and it had left some strong impressions on many audiences. Such impressions are continued in her recent exhibition. This time, she has placed a police station and police officers in the exhibition space to assign them with a new role, which is quite different from their formal role to maintain the public order. Surely, the public authority in an art exhibition is something that can startle us greatly. However, if we look at it differently, there are possibilities of new interpretations: the artist is presenting us with new formats of the sensible that goes beyond a certain political message to show the potential behind political art in a different form by destroying the hierarchical structure between the subject and objects. The destroyed structure is presented, as mentioned previously, in the Somewhere Between and Triptych : A Wishful Song.
Rather than separating the exhibition space from the outside world and art world from non-art world, the Somewhere Between has destroyed the gap between the former and latter to create a new space of mutual communication and interchange. It is a space beyond the emotional division, and a space to appreciate, contemplate on and experience new emotions. The same is applied with the Triptych : A Wishful Song as well. Scribbles and doodles collected from the outside world contain anonymous voices crying out to the world, and some of those voices are speaking various political messages. Young In Hong has unraveled these messages through handcraft works using embroidery, and we can look at it as an artist’s attempt to grant new possibilities on things that appeared shortly to satisfy our desire to ignite but then, were treated as subcultures. We can also witness the collapse of the gaps and differences. Thus, the exhibition space, in general, has become a place for collapse, destruction and new creation. Literally, the publicness is violated, and the violation was committed with a new meaning.
The term publicness contains various domains. Who is it for? Who is it pointing at? And, who are these people referred as public? Such questions are becoming more sensitive and acute in this time of our era in particular. Thus, Young In Hong’s works are presenting us with more concerns and contemplations because, her works contain many different public messages pointing at different directions.

Written by Jihye Kim, an independent Curator

Misulsegye 2012