What do a 20 dollar bill, a spirit level, a geodesic dome, and a loudspeaker chanting Mongolian love songs in Korean have in common?
That’s the question posed by the introduction to a multinational contemporary art show in the Cell gallery space in Cambridge Heath Road, Hackney. And answered.
The loudspeaker chanting the Mongolian love songs appears in the above installation by Kira Kim: A Security Garden as Paranoia (mixed media, 2006) (Apologies for the poor image quality: I only had my mobile phone with me on an unplanned visit).
Other works on display by Korean artists were
- Lee Yong Baek: Angel Soldier
- Jeon Joon Ho: The White House
- Yeon Doo Jung: Location 12
The 20 dollar bill was a piece of video art by Jeon Joon Ho – a subversive and playful piece which initially looks just like a life-size back-lit banknote, but if you watch closely there’s things going on: a tiny figure with a stepladder and a paintbrush is systematically painting out the windows in the White House. I saw a similar work of his, projected onto a big screen, at the London Korean Festival last year. I though it was fun then, but seeing it in miniature is even more fun.
Lee Yong Baek’s Angel Soldier is a piece of video art which initially looks like a still of some extremely colourful floral wallpaper. You then realise there’s a third dimension involved in the image, with flowers matching the paper hanging in front of the wall. And then you realise that there’s something moving: a soldier, crouching, wearing that same wallpaper fabric, and therefore almost invisible, walking in ultra-slow-motion in between the suspended flowers and the back wall. Something you need to stand in front of an contemplate for a while.
Yeon Doo Jung’s Location 12 is a large full-frontal image of a big 1950s American convertible car, driven by maybe an ageing gangster and his pearled ladyfriend. It feels as if it’s a still image of a scene from a film being made – the background looks as if it could have been moving while the car could be anchored firmly to the floor of the studio.
Many thanks to Jari Lager, curator of the Union Gallery exhibition and collaborator in the Cell exhibition, for telling me about this and arranging for a visit outside normal opening hours. It’s worth a visit – but only open until Sunday 29 October (Open 12 – 6pm Friday – Sunday at the Cell gallery, 258 Cambridge Heath Road, E2 9DA)
Links: the Circuit Diagram blog, with installation shots