Kwang Suk Jo


Click here for Korean version

As recent trends are becoming increasingly focused on representation of art, paintings are moving from a value-centered criticism towards an image-centered appreciation. In other words, captivating images that are elaborately packed are gaining more attention. Both technology and complexities of social structures have dimmed out questions of artistic origins, and has put emphasis on the face value of visual effects. TVs, journals, and other methods of mass communications have been plagued with mechanical images and routine mechanisms. While some images attempt to overcome the visual limitations, most simply depict the characteristics of a certain object. These works extract unique beauties of everyday life into paintings and add trite touches, eventually delivering insignificant works of mimics and imitations.

Talented artists are seldom free from making artificial manipulations of images. Even well-painted works are contained in Plato’s theory, which states that art constitutes of the imitation of an original image. The efforts to initiate a new wave are often stalled by preponderant trends of art.

Elly Cho creates a new spatial structure through drawings. She employs paints and tapes to draw mountains on a wall. The mountains are formed by a network of dismantled images and mixture of lines. The images on the opposite side of the wall hold images that are interconnected with one another, and thereby create a story that capture the attention of the gallery. The relationship of the drawings becomes a text and a basic signal for crafting a narrative. The audience is able to appreciate the intentions of the artist in the process of experiencing the space formed through the paintings. The contents of the work are not separate accounts of individual drawings but a holistic context conveyed through the unity of space. The composition of the art, which offers a renewed interpretation of the space, does not concretely communicate a message by the image itself, but rather dissolves the contents through singularities of each drawing.

In Cho’s work, the platforms of the drawings are sub-units that create the whole. In order to become a story, a structural foundation is required. The structure is an indicator that controls the visible field, and the indicator calls for the most basic form of reading that precedes other communicative languages. The artist does not directly appeal to the rules of arrangement, which allows one to have an instinctive and sensual experience.

The paintings that capture blurred images of other spaces allude to the configurative problems of painting. Cho’s work dissolves the innate narrative of the painting and delivers the artistic facts like an object. In other words, the images are formed by paints and it allows one to question the texture of the paints and its image. Rather than painting a picture, the artist incorporates “stabbing” techniques of paints. Unlike applying skilled brush strokes, stabbing creates an image which is similar to a halftone of a photo. Although Cho is stabbing paints onto the canvas, it seems like she is erasing the blank background through repetitions of the stabs. As a result, the images are crumbled, and while the timeless efforts of the artist are apparent, the labor is rather difficult to identify. The numerous repetitions of simple movements give implications to the time and effort expensed by the artist, thus, the painting conveys the inner-feelings of the artist, rather than highlighting the image.

The artificial reproduction of images paradoxically conveys the value of a painting in the form of blurred and out-of-focus scenes. The painting seems to announce that it is “only a painting” and nothing more. This intention is expressed in the gallery space through rearrangements. The works spread out in the gallery form a communicative relationship that connects the platforms and spaces of the images.

A couple years ago, Cho opened an exhibition by attaching a large painting on an advertising balloon. The general audience showed interest in the outsized painting. It seemed like an irrationally large work of art. However, the intention of the artist was quite different from the outer appearance of the painting. The primary colors painted on the huge fabric require a different interpretation from the visual images of the painting. The floating painting asks the audience to overcome the mere representation and to engage in the actual moment of the work.

The artist is also making a statement to the disinterested audience who visit a gallery with no intent to understand the nature of displayed work. An allusion to a painting only allows one to read the dimensions of the structure. A majority of the audience approach art to reap emotional entertainment and do not recognize the hidden meanings of the text. Although it may appear as if the audience is appreciating the essence of the painting, that act itself is a false approach. Thus, the audience is unable to break away from a superficial appreciation of the work. Through the floating painting, Cho paradoxically explains that the piece is not an artwork but an ordinary symbol.

The analysis of Cho’s work begins from spatial structures. Her work should not be understood as a single unit but a comprehensive piece that encompasses the spatial surroundings. This kind of Installation work does not create a new form by the art itself but accommodates existing space to deliver a new space. Moreover, Cho arranges her drawings with substituting and analytical symbols. The drawings allow one to surpass the immediate experience of art, dismantle the unity of images, and create an event in the space. By recreating the divided images in space, Cho offers a network of experiences. The fundamental arrangements of visual experience are more important than the commonality of paintings.