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Exhibition visit: MFA Degree show at Goldsmiths

The Ben Pimlott Building at Goldsmiths
The Ben Pimlott Building at Goldsmiths

It’s not always easy to get to the degree shows of the various art colleges, but I managed to sneak away from work one lunchtime and pop down to New Cross Gate to take a few installation shots at the Goldsmiths MFA 2014 degree show. Four Korean artists were showing, and I was lucky enough to have a quick chat with three of them. On the 6th floor of the Ben Pimlott building were Yumi Chung and Yunsun Jung, while Youwon Cho and Jungyoung Cho were in the fascinating space which used to be an indoor swimming pool: a viewing gallery gave a bird’s-eye view of the ground floor works, while a darkened basement provided the ideal setting for video installations.

The text in blockquotes below is taken from the exhibition information on the Goldsmiths website, where official images are available.

Yumi Chung

Yumi Chung’s installation was blessed with great views over South London to the Shard and the City. I love the way she captures the drapes and the transparency of fabric in her paintings, and the playful way she puts her work Untitled Scene, like an old-fashioned net curtain, in the window confronting the modern skyline.

Yumi Chung explores the threshold between personal and public space through drawing, painting and installation. She has focused on semi-transparent objects to contemplate a boundary between the inside and the outside in terms of the language of space. Her work comes from observations of the ‘outside’ – our surroundings within contemporary society. These observations provide the basis for her to then examine the sensitive boundary of the outer and the inner space.

Her paintings describe imaginary scenes based on her memories of observed surroundings. Furthermore, the virtual space created by the memory in the painting can be either strange or familiar and the combination of colours on canvas expands the synthetic space.

Yunsun Jung

Yunsun Jung’s installation was entitled My City. She had specifically chosen this room in the building for the view it offered. The dynamic zig-zags of her cardboard construction contrasted well with the tangled curves of the noodle-like structure on the exterior (see photo at the top of this post). Her work included recordings of street sounds which accompanied you as you walked around her cardboard city, which though sadly reminiscent of the only protection available to the homeless also had quirky touches such as an urban fox lurking in the corner.

“Why is there nothing rather than something?” (G.W. Leibniz)

“Nihilism? No, nihilism is precisely the forgetting of the nothing. It is the system that is nihilistic through its power to consign everything to indifference.” (Francois L’Yvonnet)

Youwon Cho

If you were at Sasapari earlier this year at the Bargehouse you might recall Youwon Cho’s installation which involved the intermittent striking of a gong. Her work on show on the ground floor of the Laurie Road baths involved a range of disciplices – animation, Heath Robinson-style mechanisation, and projection among them. The idea arose in part from interviews she had with senior citizens in Gyeonggi-do. I liked her animation which captures perfectly the nervous repetitive gestures of the women.

Youwon would like to mention ‘Spime’ which is a newly coined term invented by Bruce Sterling. Spime, a single-syllable noun, indicates things that are searchable, tracking their location usage, histories and the discourse with the other things around them. Assemblage of objects could make new narratives.

“My object is no longer something for something else” (Youwon Cho)

Junyong Cho

Down in a darkened basement, accessible only through installations which could have come from the set of Enter the Dragon, Junyoung Cho’s work was particularly difficult to capture on my pocket camera. This was appropriate, because an infinite amount of time and effort seemed to have gone into the creation of his work. The most eye-catching was his Flâneur On Moving Truck Series. Cho had photographed some street performers – the human statues you find in Covent Garden or in front of the National Gallery – and then projected the resulting images on to the sides of lorries passing by on a fast road. The resulting image has the human statues floating like ghosts in mid-air. Really eerie. Meanwhile his Crystal Time Series played with the moment in time and space at which he encountered the news of momentous events.

My main concern is the shape of time. I attempt to explore how rhythm effects both divided time and durational time, and can be represented in the form of a photographic image. In this regard, I would like to raise the following question by means of Crystal Time Series and Flâneur On Moving Truck Series: in what form is crystal time moulded through the encounter between image and space?

The Goldsmiths MFA degree show 2014 was 10 – 14 July

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