Gyeonggi MoMA’s ‘G-Live: Fabien & Taeyoung’ exhibition incorporates diverse perspectives on contemporary art into the interiors of the gallery space, and attempts to expand the exhibition site to one that can be shared by the artist and the viewers. The works introduced on site will not only change our preconceived notion that an artwork must be complete, but also provide an opportunity for the visitors to see the artists’ attitude towards the works, and the message of the masses shown through the works themselves. For this reason, the museum offers a live exhibition of Fabien Verschaere (France) and Chang Taeyoung (Korea)’s works. The live method, which may seem rather unfamiliar, is a method that had been often used in 20th century art. The act of producing artworks at the gallery site took place regularly, conveyed through various media.
The work of Fabien involves continual drawing as if writing a journal, which he refers to as ‘automatic painting.’ Chang Taeyoung calls his work ‘an act of accumulating daily life,’ recording the artist’s mundane activities by shuttling between the conscious and the unconscious. For both artists, the act of capturing the unconscious on the canvas through continuous and repetitive motions is a key point in the production process. Art as the artists see it is the practice of recording one’s own stories as an individual, and natural normality of one’s daily dealings, rather than a macroscopic oppression that goes beyond the scope of daily life. In viewing contemporary art, we may have – from a certain point on – erased out natural thought, pressured by the weighty presence of art.
Fabien’s works is built upon virtual images with reality as the premise. The works depart from his childhood experiences, and continues on to his other stories, reproducing images of the takes in various ways. His images appear familiar, but they do not exist in reality. Even if they do, they are mostly negative symbols. The artist constantly asks of, draws, erases, and fills in the big question of ‘death.’ In Fabien’s reality (short stature), the stories convey his own narrative of being further fettered to ‘death.’
Chang Taeyoung’s canvas presents familiar natural scenery as a realistic vision. However, the closer the viewers get to the canvas, the more they see virtual patterns that are absent in reality, along with numerous ‘Point of Canvas(paper)’s made of the artist’s own rules. The eternal loop of the patterns fills up the canvas and produces the field of vision in its entirety, but the artist calls this ‘erasing the canvas.’ It is an ironic reference to our tendency of judging the world solely based on familiar sceneries or ones that unfold before our eyes. In other words, erasing familiarity would unleash a more free form of imagination.
The “G-Live: Fabien & Taeyoung” exhibition exposes the entire process of production, and will serve as an opportunity to introduce an alternative realm of contemporary art. It bears similarity to the intermittent attempts at ‘present progressive exhibitions’ from the 1960s, but the experience of both the artist and viewers feeling and sharing their own breaths will be a new one. The experiment of free art conducted on the streets, unorthodox art, and the act of drawing presented through the 2014 “Street Art_Grafiti Art” exhibition featured the potential of art, but it also stopped short at presenting complete works while hinting at the production process through the lingering smell of the spray paint. The exhibition space for this event pushes the viewers to face incomplete artworks, and witness the rare process of the artist producing the work itself – in this regard, it may be difficult for the viewers to see it as art itself. However, this exhibition will become a delightful experience if it could capture the movements whereby the preconceived notions of exhibition paradigms undergo transformation.
Visitors of art galleries are often overwhelmed by the sheer volume of works, and are even surprised at their own inability to see them all, merely focusing and concentrating on a few. Such a response is natural. Contemporary art had the tendency to present, without any guidance, the artist’s subjective view rather than encouraging the viewers to seek reality or answers. Also, the variety of the presented works undermines the viewers’ concentration, while subjective works are difficult to comprehend without knowing the production process or the artist’s intention behind the piece.
The artist’s production process may be a rather uncomfortable scene for the viewers who expect to see a complete piece. However, we must also remember that a work of art, or what is complete, entails the limits of confining the representation to piecemeal stories from the perspective of the producer, namely the artist. The act of producing the work in the space where the artist actually encounters the viewers may be added spice that moves the work toward completion. The artist’s practice unfolds in the exhibition, shared as experience and feeling with the viewers, instead of the usual format of presenting works along with explanations. It will be a device that helps the viewers focus more on the artist’s sensitivities and attitudes toward the work, beyond the point of how and what the artist draws. Live-painting becomes an alternative experience through which the exhibition space becomes part of the work itself, and also an empirical space to be shared as the artist shows and tells his story.
A. Malraux’s Museum without Walls’ problematized the form of individual art galleries in 20th century contemporary art, asserting that complete works of art fettered to the limited space of the museum represent a form of art that force a unilateral kind of communication upon us. Indeed, we must reconsider the claim that ‘art’ should be understood solely as designated. Let us think about what we are missing from the artist’s work, as he/she processes, creates, and presents art.
The structure of the ‘G-Live: Fabien & Taeyoung’ exhibition also directly shows the process by which the entire exhibition space becomes a work of art, veering away from the general format of presenting complete pieces produced by artists. We will reach a flexible and active exhibition space, unlike encountering artworks only through limited space and pre-established premises. Gyeonggi MoMA’s ‘G-Live’ exhibition will be a symbolic event that shows how contemporary art is “alive,” how it “lives,” and is “living,” serving as a new expansion and experiment for Gyeonggi MoMA as it prepares for the upcoming two decades.
Gyeonggi MoMA Curator
Perhaps, all the artistic activities in human history spring from our inability to overcome the otherness that originates from the chasm between the world and one’s own self. It is difficult to endure oneself, locked away from the world, regardless of the degree to which the isolation extends. The ordeal manifests in the form of negative feelings, for instance a strange sense of alienation, refusal, resistance, fear, or hurt. The inability to overcome otherness occasionally manifests itself in extreme expressions.
"The knife, the killer are very old elements of my vocabulary." "Having the criminal mind face the pictorial... This is what is important: going towards death to understand life... The murder of Father Christmas” (Murdering Father Christmas – Fairytale, Pierre Very, 2008)"
In Gyeonggi MoMA’s <g-live: fabien & taeyoung> exhibition, Fabien Vaschaere will have an opportunity to show his affection for Korean culture, which he has nurtured over the past few years as he shuttled between Korea and France. I would like to share the joy of finding various characters Vaschaere has been focusing on the past few years, such as tigers and old men we see in Korean folk religion and Buddhist temples, and Kokdu dolls used for biers. Fabien Vaschaere, an artist who creates the myth of salvation for himself from folktales and legends even we ourselves have forgotten. Would we be able to determine whether he has been cured by looking at the products of his toils, as the artist himself said? Monk Hyangjeok, the head priest of Haein Temple who met Vaschaere a few years ago during his visit to Korea, referred to him as someone like a ‘shaman.’ All artists are, in fact, like ‘shamans,’ entities who stand between artistic salvation and the status of a viewer. What kind of salvation are we seeking in art, and would we be able to find it?
Taeyoung Chang’s art arises from the process of interpreting and reconfiguring an object through “picturesqueness” – the point of interest here is that the picturesqueness we find on his canvas is distinct from the representative techniques of traditional landscape paintings.
Unlike traditional ink-and-paper landscapes, which elicit “picturesqueness” through the harmonic combination of the represented objects such as the mountains, rocks, trees, water, and clouds, he enlists picturesqueness as a way of endowing a certain order that encompasses the entire canvas. In other words, in his works, objects of different materiality such as mountains, rocks, trees, water, and clouds are newly arranged in accordance with the ‘picturesque’ characteristics the artist imbues his canvas with. This means that his gaze is fixed upon a point that does not appear within the canvas, going beyond faithful representations of the visual phenomenon. This objective comes clearer through a series of works that portray mountain peaks reflected on the surface of water.
From a philosophical perspective, humanity can only come close to actuality through shadows, the implication being that even the visual data our eyes collect is merely a shadow of the actual entity. That is, there is a need for us to question what he saw through the represented object; how he understands the represented object through his own experiments, and how he seeks out ways to share the results of this understanding with others.
With regard to the above, Taeyoung Chang invokes ‘Joongwha Jimi(中和之美)’ (Within harmony lies beauty) from 『Akki(樂記)] (a classical text on music)’s [Akron(樂論)] (chapter about musical theory), and explains the point where Nature and artistic intent become one through “gyul.” This is most intriguing, for calling the rule that governs the paper/canvas “gyul,” and asserting that every object within must be interpreted according to this rule, is akin to understanding and explaining Nature (cosmos – the principle that governs everything) through “gyul.”
Let us delve further into the artist’s reference to “gyul.” He visualizes “gyul” by connecting it to the meaning of waves, parallel alignment, and connection. This is how the painting is expressed through the connectivity of short bush touches. However, given that the work in question is one where a form is shaped and erased through the flow of meaningless strokes, the object the artist captures becomes yet another Nature, borne through a certain set of rules. This process can be explained through the yin/yang theory in the Eastern tradition, as it shares its roots with traditional landscapes. This in turn means that his works stand within the legacy and fetter of tradition, and that his originality can be swept up in the larger currents of tradition Therefore, the “gyul” we see in his work still remains in the realm of figurative expression, and is the result of his understanding of Nature (cosmos). As the trace of his desire for the world he seeks is yet unclear, his works may keep the gazes of the viewers at the level of curiosity. I believe this to be due to the fact that while he achieved his own perspective in seeing and understanding the world, he still hasn’t understood Nature (cosmos) he saw in his own way, or drew it out in his own expression.
Even if one successfully persuades the viewers that “the cosmos looks like this if viewed through this perspective,” the viewers will not be moved by his work if he cannot explain why such a perspective must be adopted. Gazing upon an object through art is the entry point that allows the viewers into the world an artist has formed. If there is a way for us to enter a world where we may share the artist’s own views and thoughts through the “gyul”s and “picturesqueness” he creates, such as idealized Nature, the viewers’ internal scenery, imagination, images that are easily dismissed, incomplete worlds, or worlds that are forced upon us through texts, we could delight ourselves simply by imagining such possibilities.
Doctor of Arts
Hosted by : Gyeonggi-do, Gyeonggi Cultural Foundation
Organized by : Gyeonggi Museum of Modern Art, Ansan-si
Supported by : Korea Mecenat Association, Arts Council Korea, Samhwa Paints, NCOM
Artists : Fabien Vaschaere, Taeyoung Chang