Choi & Lager Gallery Cologne presents Shifting Moments, showcasing the works of 6 young artists–Jiha Jeon, Hyeseon Jeong, Sooyeun Lee, Hanna Noh, Hyeyoung Sin, and Seongmin Yuk. Hailing from Korea and attending Academy of Media Arts Cologne, the featured artists examine the different environments and shades of contemporaneity they have encountered in Korea and Germany, presenting their exploration in various shapes and forms through their work. The artists visualise the ways in which perceived changes in space and time lead to new perspectives and methodology.
Hanna Noh's multidisciplinary practice ranges from performance to sculpture to 3D graphics. The exhibition features 3D animation titled 'Internal Other', in which a Red-Crowned Crane–serving as an auspicious shamanic symbol against the backdrop of the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) of the two Koreas–guides the audience through a meditative journey. Her sculptural work Ich bin nicht aus Zucker I (I am not made of sugar), deriving from the German idiom, utilises malleable, liquified sugar. Once moulded into form, the sugar is hardened to recreate the upper half of the human body. Through her work, Noh metaphorically illustrates the workings of the human psyche and in particular, its defense mechanism. Hanna Noh focuses on reconstructing cultural narratives from the past, and visually outlining their connections to the present. She has participated in a group exhibition at the National Museum of Art in Bogota, Colombia, and was chosen as the winner of the Digital Dramaturgy category in the arts competition organised by NRW KULTURsekretariat in 2020.
Hyeyoung Sin finds her inspiration in the myriad of phenomena informed by sound, movement, form, and materiality. Early Growth - Cuttage is a mixed media installation that visually encapsulates the artist's contemplation on the growth cycle of a plant. The plant's inherent tendency to grow is inevitably intervened by external influences, leading to a 'double expansion'. Sin is a member of the performance collective 'You Are Group' and has performed at a number of festivals. She has recently completed her residency in Athens, Greece with the support of Kunstiftung NRW.
Seongmin Yuk explores the common attributes and concepts between digital transformation and humanity, drawing connections through video, performance, installation and spatial manipulation. The single channel video 'I could once speak under two moons' deconstructs the creation myth of Jeju Island, and presents its elements from an alternative perspective. The work reinterprets the story of Jeju's conception, wherein the prehistoric bedlam, where two suns and two moons rose each day, was transformed into a peaceful and orderly haven through human intervention. Yuk's work retells the story from the perspective of soldiers and moths, and questions humanity's justification for their linear, humanocentric intervention.
Sooyeun Lee's work delves into intuitive phenomena–such as movement in nature and organic forms–that are easily accepted without the need for logical explanation. The Time Now I is a hand-shaped kinetic art installation based on the difference in customs between cultures when counting with one's fingers. The installation displays the local time in Seoul and Berlin with their respective finger-counting methods, presenting the two countries' various means of communication without prejudice or hierarchy. Sound of Breath comprises several bronze pipes in different lengths, installed on the outside of the gallery. The work visualises and audiates the wind; the varying shapes of the wind in turn alters the pipes' position and melodies, providing a orchestral respite from our modern daily lives.
Jiha Jeon actively utilises digital technology such as 3D animation, VR, 3D scanning, and motion capture as part of his conceptual and creative process. His work 'Combined Fish series', which began with transforming a single fish into an array of variations, is presented through a series of photographs and 3D animation. In illustration of the interrelationships between individuals and groups, the fish bite and intertwine with each other to form a singular chain. They collectively roam through the virtual ocean, driven by the cyclical ritual of balance and disintegration. Jiha Jeon participated in Art Cologne in 2019, and won first prize in the 2019 Kölsch Glass Design Competition hosted by Gaffel, a leading beer manufacturer in Cologne. He has participated in a number of group exhibitions in both Korea and Germany, and has shown his 3D VR animation ON THE ROAD I at Ambulante Documentary Film Festival in Mexico.
Hyeseon Jeong studied film at the Offenbach University of Art and Design, and has since continued her education at Academy of Media Arts Cologne. Primarily working with video, radio drama, fiction and sound, Jeong continues to explore the rapidly changing virtual culture and ecosystems in the Network Age. Her work No one can stop consists of a single channel video and a series of collages in LED frames. While once spectacular Olympic stadiums are discarded and left to deteriorate after the events, souvenirs and stock photos continue to be bought by avid collectors and remain to serve as pristine records of a gloried past. Jeong's tongue-in-cheek recounting of these glory days reveals the absurdity of mega-events such as the Olympics and its continued existence in the digital realm.
The title of the exhibition Shifting Moments alludes to the ever-changing landscape of modern technology, as well as the artists who are actively seeking new means of expression. Through experimental works that freely reinterpret the material world and the virtual world, the artists encourage the audience to dissect and reflect on the contemporary realities we inhabit, as well as the watershed for culture heralded by modern technology and media.
Press release courtesy Choi&Lager Gallery.