포도의 맛 _ a mucous membrane
2021.06.10. THU ~ 2021.08.07. SAT
Machine Called the World We Inhabit
Seung Oh Shin (Director of Perigee Gallery)
Jung Sungyoon is particularly interested in a machine’s internal structure and its processes that are usually barely visible. His concern is not merely about its workings but the direct correlation between its external surface and its internal parts, encompassing a spectator’s way of seeing an artwork. Thus, his works can be seen as deriving from the interaction between the tangible like a machine and the intangible like the mind of a spectator seeing it. The surface of a machine he pays attention to refers to an appearance in which a product made by the device he conceived is not controlled and appears atypical but soon disappears. His work seems to be a sculptural performance that imparts flexibility to a rigid machine. Thus his work demonstrates sequential change. His early work focused especially on forms that are not fixed by any mechanical movement. An example is Eclipse in which two circles connected to a machine become one for a moment but are soon separated from each other while repetitively crossing. Another is Shapes in which afterimages appear on an external boundary by vibrations generating movement. His subsequent work showed his interest in the characteristic of a material’s surface and its uncontrolled, indeterminate effect. the things we have brought features elastic silicone-foam cords becoming entangled and disentangled when rotation and reverse rotation take place repeatedly while through the night displays artificial fur whose tactile surface arbitrarily transforms as it rotates vertically.
Titled A mucous membrane, this exhibition features four pieces: Two ellipses, Snakes and water, Rabbit, and a video work Amalgam. The exhibit’s Korean title grape flavor is a metaphor for Jung’s work, referring to the texture of grape skin, grape savor, and sensations aroused by its smell, while its English title A mucous membrane reveals its explicit meaning, a sticky yet pellucid mucous membrane. You are above all advised to view his works, bearing some feeling of mucous membranes the artist mentions in mind. In Two ellipses, two ellipses slowly turn around an axis in opposite direction of each other. The two ellipses look like one single complete circle by this rotation, but some wave-like contours are brought about with incessantly arising irregular rhythmical vibrations on the border of this circle. Moving as one body, an atypical, opaque membrane is created through a subtle disagreement. The central area of this rotation displays an unfathomable abyss-like spatiality by applying black paint that absorbs light to the surfaces of those ellipses. Snakes and water is set on a tall pedestal on which two-rowed, six-tiered rollers are filled with lubricant. As each roller interlocks with gears, the level of lubricant goes up or down when the lower roller rotates, constantly generating and maintaining films. Each roller has an influence on forming each film by being separated or united through their independent movement. The film engendered in this way portrays a situation of tactile contact arising when a mucous membrane influences or is influenced by another. In Rabbit a sphere appears as a lump. This work is a three-dimensional representation of what Jung has simulated arbitrarily. This first of all has capsule-like membranes wrapping a sphere in a trajectory generated when the sphere moves around at a distance of its diameter. The sphere wrapped up with several capsules is also covered with one large membrane. While each individual membrane stands for the power to expand while the membrane wrapping up all like a net refers to the power to contract. This work is a representation of a point where each individual power to expand to the outside from the inside can coexists with the power to contract from the outside to the inside creating a dramatic, static situation in which each position reaches a critical point. His video work Amalgam displays a mixture of mucous membranes and membranes he touched on in other pieces, physical property and texture he was interested in, and form. These elements show the cycles of increasing in volume, separation, and reduction. This is similar to the fact that an amalgam, also the title of this work, is an alloy of mercury with another metal that may be a liquid, a soft paste or a solid, depending upon the proportion of mercury. With this, he intended to create an invisible thin membrane cutting across the boundary between reality and imagination.
If so, what is the mucous membrane he defines? A mechanical device is revealed or concealed in Jung’s works while their appearances restlessly move and are in a state of flux but stay calm. This movement results from laying stress on a mutual balance as the inside of a machine is connected to its outside. Of course, the surface interaction by the machine is generated by an operation of input value intentionally performed by the artist. The mechanical device he presents is hardly seen as a passive machine that simply shows the result of its performance made by the artist’s intent. The artist pays attention to a situation that is off the point of his intention and not completely controlled. This attitude seems to be an action not to represent something through the mechanical equipment but to produce something new. That’s why a result as an artwork exists physically but is always variable. The mechanical equipment that is likely to perform something without any errors is at times not completely regulated at some point. Some gap is engendered by this unintended error and this gap widens as it is repeated and becomes something completely different from what is initially intended. The artist regards this error as a connecting mechanism for a new possibility. His result unveils a temporal and spatial structure of the cycle that reaches its peak at some moment and descends again. And he considers that this process causes a situation in which individual elements are intermediated with one another. This is the disposition of mucous membranes he mentions. Although each work stimulates and echoes one another through contraction and relaxation in this exhibition, they are not integrated as one complete thing.
Another element that serves as a medium for what has no apparent boundaries, cannot be captured as one, and cannot maintain the same form is the spectator. A human being can be seen as a machine. Physical organs are organically associated with one another while evolving or atrophying functionally. Our bodies are able to control themselves but some action occurs, regardless of our will. And we come to perceive an object through our sensory organs and acquired knowledge and experience. From this point of view, people are constantly influenced by both the variable and invariable as well as the conscious and unconscious. In this sense, a human being is not so different from a mechanical device the artist presents. He thinks that a connection through a medium of mucous membranes may be extended not only to the realm of sight but also to touch, smell, and taste. What makes it possible is the creation of fluid mucous membranes temporarily existing between the viewer and object and any connection and separation by them. This is what is by existent or inexistent function and by purpose or chance. Thus, a mucous membrane plays a buffering, bridging role in flux without any already fixed or defined form. This mucous membrane unmasks an insubstantial world with a magical characteristic as some apparent device is linked to another. This encompasses one single world connected to innumerable beings as well as diverse worlds with many layers.
To sum it up, the mucous membrane Jung articulates is somewhere between the inside and outside but it is not a completely solid frame. It continuously desires something and is in motion. So our perception of the surface of some object comes up at a specific moment in the structure of the cycles of creation and extinction, contraction and expansion, and ascending and descending. And, his mucous membrane serves as a medium in the process of connecting and separating one single machine and ‘me’ as well as innumerable objects unrelated to me. His work we have thus far reviewed does not take note of any visual effect simply deriving from the movement of a machine. While his previous works aroused some situation and led viewers to obverse and perceive it, pieces on display at this exhibition demand meditative immersion for thinking. And the mucous membrane is to temporarily reveal space-time in which all visible and invisible things including humans interact constantly. The movement of accelerating and alleviating something is a natural process of creatively arousing something new. All these appear as an internal and simultaneously external phenomenon. To borrow his words, we have to unmask the cross sections of some situation or some narrative to visualize this. All the same, our bodies and minds have to become lighten so as to have appreciation of space-time he has rendered. A mucous membrane brought up by the device he made functions not only as a passive material but also an active device to give rise to an incessantly moving fluid state. This is converted into something new, shaping a mucous membrane between objects and us. A connection through this mucous membrane means that everything that constitutes this world is horizontal. Even though an action to make a connection with the world is special, not everything in this world is linked to the subject of ‘me’. Those in this world are connected and separated from one another, irrespective of ‘me’. The machine called the world that exists in reality is neither single nor fixed. It just temporarily reveals its existence at some point. In this way, he makes us perceive a new world through unrestrictedness that cuts across antinomic ironies between man and machine, ideal mind and real body, interior and exterior, and control and mistake. What we need for this is a neutral, horizontal attitude to loosen up something stiff and to tighten something loose. After all, the artist ushers us into a time of thinking in order for us to depart from one specific world and perceive beings in various layers, seeing them from a broad, horizontal point of view. Jung Sungyoon shows we need new imagination for such a perceptual shift and transition.
Organized by KHVATEC CSR Division PERIGEE GALLERY
Director Seung Oh Shin
Curator Han Ah Kwon
Photographed by Doyeon Gwon
Text by Seung Oh Shin
Graphic Design Jongmin Ahn
Sponsored by Seoul Metropolitan Government, Seoul Foundation for Arts and Culture