Autohypnosis ****views the physical attitude of defending oneself from desires rooted in personal intention as a technique. Utilizing the ingrained senses of transmitting images, it focuses on the alignment of the medium's form with self-hypnosis. The act of casting spells upon oneself involves an iterative sequence of time and space. Self-directed spells exhibit a self-obsessive nature, as the artist repeats specific actions, undergoes self-replication and transformation, and manifests them as processes or outcomes. Similarly, the creative acts of the artist involve incessantly kneading and shaping their artistic identity in their own language throughout the process. In Autohypnosis, the concept of "spells" are metaphorically and romantically associated with the persistent and unwavering rituals of everyday life. This is due to our obsession with our own creative worlds, which we consider the greatest and most precious, constantly oscillating between self-love and self-loathing. In this context, we erect alternative attitudes or self-affirming senses as protective shields to compensate for our weaknesses, while replicating and editing ourselves into new forms, reciting charms, and radiating our own charm.
The exhibition originates from the desire for stealth and the absence of the body through the techniques of concealing one's own appearance or creating a transparent shield using magical spells. The transformation into a physical transparent entity serves as both a self-defense mechanism, aiming to hide from a particular subject, and is a state of being suspended in the present temporal dimension. In this exhibition, which employs a kind of deceptive technique, the intention is to weave together the points where images gain structure. Through the self-hypnotic attitude that permeates the works of Dew KIM, Kai OH, and WOO Hannah, material, image, and structure is interconnected with the flashy and smooth "outside" and the self-defensive attitude hidden beneath, which leads to the creation of structure.
Dew KIM's work explores the paradoxical intersection of hypocrisy and desire on various layers, including BDSM culture, queer language, religion, shamanism, and K-pop—cultural phenomena that cannot function without sentiments rooted in the essence of human nature, such as willpower and desire. He traverses cultural identities, channeling from personal experience, and pushes the boundaries of taboo, engaging with the contradictory points of hypocrisy and desire. In this exhibition, the artist views a body that manifests hedonistic acts as a physical entity. By condensing and dissipating the power that resists and embraces the self, in other words, the internal instead of the external, the artist presents a new sculpture titled 〈Solo Romance〉(2023), which celebrates bodily acts through the consolidation and resolution of the power that goes against oneself and provides self-comfort. The entire body of work in the exhibition focuses on skin color, utilizing the surfaces of soft materials such as transparent skin-toned latex, and resin. Through the physical repetition of contraction and expansion caused by a mechanical device, Kim actively reveals and conceals the gestures imposed on one's own body. In particular, the "breathing" sculpture installed on a low pedestal embodies a commemorative attitude that enhances the physical act of "self-fisting." 〈Rhythmical Gangbang〉(2023) is a decorative structure that highlights dynamism through an aggressive form referencing the shape of a dildo, contrasting the soft texture of skin-colored latex texture with cold and solid metallic materials. The combination of contrasting properties in the materials symbolically reproduces the contradictory phenomenon of the body defending and engulfing the subject, represented by the shape of the object. 〈Midnight Sun〉(2023), which can be seen as an extension of Kim's previous works, places material emphasis on the skin's barrier, intertwining the body's inversion with elements of physical madness, while the highly peculiar ornamentation that operates as the structure may represent the artist's cynical attitude towards human desire.
Kai OH has been continuously engaged in various experiments that integrate the medium's formal aspects with attitudes toward the fundamental production methods of post-production techniques and materials, rather than simply centering on the subjects depicted in photographs. By setting up her body as an analogous tool alongside the production technology of programs that select, edit, distort, and post-process photographic images, the artist has consistently taken a stance against the principles of photography by experimenting with physical media. Previously, her work centralized on combining sensations of surfaces demonstrated within the realm of images and photographic techniques, such as acrylic and glass. However, in Autohypnosis, the artist presents a new series of fabric installations titled 〈Morningside Park Snail〉(2023), 〈Web(in Pink, Green and 0)〉(2023), and 〈Snail (Void)〉(2023), which involve the various textures, thicknesses, and transparencies of fabrics such as velvet, silk, voile, cotton, and mesh. Oh captures images discovered in the city where she resides as an outsider, printing them onto these different types of fabrics, and then weaves and layers them, creating overlapping dimensions of space. Oh directs her attention to the conflicting internal sensations of alienation and acceptance experienced during the process of adapting to the context of a new city. She also focuses on the types of common phenomena found in different cities while observing the elements that intervene in the unique cycles of ecosystems. In particular, the "snail" that appears in her recent work serves as a metaphorical symbol, repeatedly adhering to the fabric like an image being copied and pasted. The craft-based approach of cutting and interweaving fabrics in collages operates at the paradoxical intersection of the transparent and opaque spaces between the fabrics, simultaneously revealing and concealing the material properties and artistic attitudes. Similarly, Kai OH's diverse experiments on forms disrupt specific images through visual illusions within the confines of traditional frames, hiding them as indeterminate images. They also showcase a somewhat contradictory attitude, displaying a sense of flatness inherent in photographs while simultaneously showcasing the material's textures and thicknesses.
WOO Hannah connects elements such as relative deprivation and absence, which are eliminated in the process of desire, with the inner and outer sensations of the body, and presents them through soft fabric sculptures, paintings, murals, and other installations. This exhibition discusses the artist's fate, which is inevitably accompanied by inner conflict when ambivalent conditions are on equal footing with each other. As moments of choice accumulate in the process of exchanging thoughts between the realms of reason and emotion, left-brain thinking and right-brain thinking, the numerous selves struggling on either side of the divide are embodied in structures that recall the body organs that project themselves or the bodies of both sexes and are subject to the inertia that instinctively compels them to equalize. In her new work, 〈Finger〉(2023), the artist casts the form of a giant needle sculpted from clay into aluminum, subverting the sense of an object as a lightweight, sharp little tool. This tool, essential to all of the artist's works and most closely connected to her body, can be seen as a physical and psychological companion to the artist, who experiences pain and pleasure through the microscopic movements of her fingers as they pierce and re-pierce surfaces and masses. At the same time, the act of passing the thread through the hole, the only empty space a needle has, and tying a knot in it, marks the beginning of the process, the goal of the work, and even a defense mechanism against oneself. The thread that follows the hole and the hole that follows the thread is the medium and byproduct of the trail that she, as an artist, should look back on. In addition, the works 〈Mama〉(2023), 〈Egg〉(2023), and her recent series 〈Bleeding〉(2023-) depict a maternal attitude that symbolizes the pain of nurturing one's own egg. They represent the duality of this process, expressing sentiments of embracement and excretion. Through the use of craft techniques, such as delicate needlework on soft sculptures, the artist's labor of stitching punctures, weaves, and binds the surface and mass, revealing the internal conflict of desire and catharsis, and showcasing the interplay between them. By incorporating elements inspired by objects in nature that follow specific cycles, the artist creates a theatrical experience within the artwork, departing from the previous approach of staging the entire exhibition space and focusing on more independent entities. Furthermore, while WOO Hannah visualizes her work as a whole, the texture of the mass she focuses on is not depicted as is, instead it is transformed into a form in which the skin and structure of the human body are subverted. These sculptures explore unique forms, textures, and support structures, offering a distinctive approach to contemporary sculpture.
The exhibition Autohypnosis, featuring Dew KIM, Kai OH, and WOO Hannah, focuses on their self-hypnotic, repetitive acts of transformation at the center. These acts give rise to images and surfaces with transparent attributes, which are integrated into the medium of their work to select subjects through a conscious act (Kai OH). This is accompanied by a theatrical attitude towards self-hypnosis, involving transformation towards the body and desires that lie between forbidden myths and religious boundaries (Dew KIM). Starting from a contemporary language about the female body, the work expands beyond the body itself, where the shell plays the role of the structure itself, allowing the body to reside there while undergoing a transformation process that transcends the physical body (WOO Hannah). In this way, the exhibition explores deceptive image-making and disguises that camouflage between surfaces and supports, a fetishistic hypnosis performed at the boundaries of desire and prohibition, and further extends to the sacrifice of the body and object as another face of the sculptural process that embodies intangible desires and the resulting sense of loss. All three attitudes exhibit dazzling images and sculptures with soft structures, but they share a common aspect of fetishism.
Autohypnosis can be seen as another primal face of human existence and a process of creation itself. Through this process, artists disrupt their surroundings as a defensive mechanism within their endless self-struggles, evolving their own contexts of work. For example, they may seek to appear transparent as if they do not exist in this time and space, allowing something immaterial to pass through their bodies, or orchestrate the environment around their bodies to avoid being materialized. Just as prey evolve their own methods of concealment to confuse predators, defensive skills that rely on basic survival instincts represent both self-hypnosis and the art of transformation. The process of becoming transparent, situated between transformation and camouflage, ultimately involves a physical metamorphosis where the body remains effective while simultaneously erasing itself and adjusting its position.
Text. Sungah Serena Choo
Press release courtesy G Gallery.