2014년 3월 22일 토요일
Unfucking Real @ Capter 1
About Nayoungim & Gregory Maass_ A striking trait of the work of Gregory Maass and Nayoungim, probably the first thing most people notice as they enter a show of their work, is its curious air of detachment.
This isn't art that wears its emotions on its sleeve. Quite the contrary. Their artworks rebut most straightforward attempts at empathy. Instead of a clear face or posture, something with which one could readily identify, these works present themselves as a series of puzzling constructions.
The works are cool and witty, sculptural installations full of allusions, to which the makers often add punning titles and ironic comments. Such cool wit can certainly be refreshing, and I would venture a guess that a good number of visitors of Maass and Nayoungim's shows have not felt the need to look any further. They may have been well satisfied with the conclusion that these are artists with a well-developed taste for bizarre combinations of design, surface and texture in commodity-like sculpture and drawing. On top of this, Maass and Nayoungim are not averse to a little misrepresentation, feeling that the audience should be able to take a bit of teasing. While most gallery invitations show a photo of the exhibited work, they often choose to lead their audience up the garden path.
For a show in Helmond, The Netherlands, in 2005, titled "Fine for a Robot", they sent out invitations with a photo of the interior of a small supermarket in Seoul, while nothing in the show was visibly related to things Korean.  Similarly, for a show in Antwerp, Belgium, in 2006, titled "Have Spacesuit - Will Travel", the invitation showed an aerial photo of Manhattan. The show, of course, contained neither an aerial photo nor a spacesuit nor any reference to New York City or Manhattan. And yet, however appropriate qualifications like cool, witty, distanced and absurd are, there is something in this work that does look back at the spectator and requires an empathic response.
Dry and aloof as it is, there is also a certain stubbornness in the work, a specific and very oblique personality that is its core. The best way to find access to this hidden and convoluted message is indirectly, by considering it against a series of diverging backgrounds.