Haneyl Choi explores sculpture's formative potential as a narrative framework, yielding symbolic configurations of individuals or archetypes that engage multiple visual perspectives and elicit indeterminate interpretations. The ambiguity that pervades Choi's oeuvre comes from his ongoing inquiry into sculpture's expressive potential as both signifier and signified, and evidences his critical stance toward identity politics, consumer culture, normative social structures and postmodern discourse in contemporary art. Through this idiosyncratic and irreverent sculpture practice, Choi evokes notions of subjectivity, and substance as contradictory elements in the expanded sculptural field.
Choi's recent works are often materialized in human scale and conceived to represent a group of personalities or defined demographics. He skillfully traverses between conventional methods and provocative approaches, employing a broad array of industrial and conventional materials, such as styrofoam, steel, ready-mades, sponges and urethane foam. Each piece is personified by dressing it with fashion items or having it making a familiar physical gesture. He subtly layers connotations of queer culture or sociopolitical issues with humor on top of personas recalled from private memories. The sculptural abstractions being presented here propose aesthetic experiences that confront viewers in a public discourse of private sensibilities.
For this group of works, the artist produced minimal, abstract, metal sculptures and overlaid them with impressions of his LGBTQ friends. By infusing a queer narrative into the absolute perfection of minimalism, Choi disrupts minimalism's noble history with his own flair-a loose, casual and bold approach-without denying, mocking or destroying it. The sculptures resulting from this approach ironically become monuments as being minimal sculptures.
By making them as 'monuments', the artist celebrates the queers around him who thrive in their respective fields, and each fashion item 'worn' by a sculpture was designed by the person represented by that sculpture. The sculptures are doing their job by standing still in the same way that the queers of today who faithfully carry on with their lives while establishing the grounds to materialize, normalize and naturalize the queer in their own ways. These sculptures are simply celebrating these queers as normal citizens who are not just silly and friendly but also hardworking in their daily lives.
Press release courtesy P21.