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Artist Talk : Oh Youkyeong
25 MAY 2024

The 85th ARTCaffè by Raffaella Gallo

Oh You started her presentation from the early days of her work, in which, through projects in the highlands and forests, nature, and humanity, she became curious about the large universe of interaction, extinction, and birth of objects: ”All objects are connected by endless chains. Connection is carried out by chance, spatially, temporally, causally, and out of necessity.”
In guiding us through her art practice, she divided her work in three major categories: recovering projects; works related to the topic of invisible energy and circulation; the process of finding immaterial energy in matter.
Regarding the first category, she said: “I had an interest in the social role of artists to cure and recover society with creative activity. While I was at university in Paris, I used broken, old, and abandoned chairs to represent this. Chairs that lost their function as furniture (…) were an important medium for my creative activity and study. I changed these chairs to other forms and functions through cleaning, wrapping them in bandages, winding, and using materials to promote their healing. The repairs, alterations and changes made to these chairs were not to recover them to use as their original function. Instead, it was for symbolic reasons. The chairs symbolize healing, longevity, repose and reincarnation. The stopped function of the chairs converted to another form symbolizes life after a death.”

In the second category, Oh You’s focus changed to contemplating invisible and untouchable energy like gravity, sound, wind, and the senses. The works in this category are all inspired by a trip to Ladakh, which was an opportunity for her to focus more on circulation, proliferation, and extinction. “I tried to ironically express with the light objects of the world that all the artifacts in the world, which are always standing as heavy and magnificent, are not very strong or deep.”

While she had before focused on light and invisible forces, using light materials to represent this, with the third category of works Oh You moved onto using heavier, more solid materials in her work. “In 2012, I participated in the Puiforcat residency (Fondation d’entreprise d’Hermes), and I was given the material silver to use. After much research and thought, I tried to find non-materials essences or effects in silver. Later, in the Amore Pacific Museum of Art's outdoor project, a solid work that had to withstand typhoons and winds was a big motif for me, and that's when I came up with the idea of a pillar-shaped work called ‘The Tower of the Moon.’"
After making the Tower of the Moon, Oh You felt that she ran into contradictions: “I was trying to find immaterial things in materials. So I came to use a crystal to find immaterial parts.” With this third category of works, she said, “I want to talk about how the world continues to change through works that are connected, accumulated, re-stacked, and repeated. I want to talk about the state of entanglement that seems to be separated and convey a message that the firmness of the world in which we live is actually nothing compared to Mother Nature and can always change.”
In the last part of the talk, she introduced us to her series "being connected", in which objects in the form of circle and sphere are combined or overlapped to create another form within it. In her words, again: “We are part of a world that interacts in various ways. In the system of interaction, individual actions may collide and break regular rhythms. I attributed the method of the composition of these works to the harmony and balance of interactions. It is a process in which the modules that make up the work influence each other.”

"[In my work] I hope for a general object to be perceived in a different way, re-imagined by giving its own meaning to the observers. The meaning of these objects changes and plays various roles through the observers' diverse imaginations. I believe the poetry of the re-imagined object can touch the observers’ senses in the space in which the work is presented.
Even small details can create waves. This is an important aspect of creation.”

Oh Youkyeong : The 85th Artist Talk by ARTCaffe

Oh Youkyeong, Cuvement

Oh Youkyeong, 12 Cuvement Ballon

Oh Youkyeong, Salt City

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