Is this happening?

By | Art & Design
Yoonjin Yung, Seeing the unseen XXIX, 2014

The Flux and I is the title of the last curatorial work currently showcased at the Gazelli Art House in London which brings together the work of artists John Wynne and Yoonjin Jung. Clearly inspired by the famous 1960s Fluxus movement the show engages the viewer into a journey through the immaterial aspects of the categories of space and time.

Sound artist John Wynne presents two site-specific installations for this particular show; the first one on the ground floor is a 25 minute-long sound installation hosted in the main space of the gallery which turns into a stage where the viewer is surrounded by suspended speakers. Moving around this particularly constructed area the visitor is overwhelmed by the experience of sound which changes according to the movement of the subject in space; in this sense, the medium of sound becomes indissoluble from the spatial experience. At the same time the sound sequence and the overlap of different frequencies interrupts our common perception of time, suggesting a timeless flux or continuum present.

John Wynne, Installation #3 for high and low frequencies, 2014

John Wynne, Installation #3 for high and low frequencies, 2014

The second sound installation on the first floor of the gallery is set in a dark room where the visitor can experience 6 minutes of sound in complete darkness. In this case, instead of the architecture being the starting point to design the sound experience, it is the latter that literally designs space. Deprived of the sense of sight, in the darkness we can only rely on sounds to construct the architecture around us. If the artist has challenged architects through an architecture of sounds, at the same time, he challenges the viewer to figure out his/her own construction of space through the listening experience. If we consider darkness as the visual equivalent of silence we can look at the dark room as architecture as much as John Cage four minutes thirty-three seconds can be defined as music. Like many sound artists recently, John Wynne also challenges people to reconsider perception of reality without the aid of images and visual experiences, although still engaging with and choosing the gallery space as a privileged site. In this context, the installations are also “happenings” and events occurring anytime depending on the audience.

Yoonjin Yung, Seeing the unseen XXIV, 2014

Yoonjin Yung, Seeing the unseen XXIV, 2014

Yoonjin Jung is the other artist protagonist of this interesting duo exhibition; with few works showcased beside Wynne’s installation on the ground floor and more upstairs, there is enough material to grasp the essence of this quite unique production. The artist investigates the delicate and ethereal territory of the unseen; her work seems to aid a sort of manifestation of space as a nearly religious event. The works are mainly realized with white frames and layers of silk partly painted, or alternatively, with rectangular and elliptical figures detached or semidetached from the gallery wall to cast shadows on it. The artist’s role is to make visible the invisible space, both of the gallery and of those immaterial elements that elude our eyes such as air. Light becomes the actual material to manipulate in order to construct images; cast shadows are more than pictorial effects and assume plastic substance.  Phenomenology is just one of the key elements needed to read these works; Yoonjin clearly quotes the dramatic chiaroscuro of Lucio Fontana’s “cuts” on canvases and Mark Rothko’s paintings as symbolic images.

How do these artworks challenge the mind of the viewers? How do they contribute to challenging our perception of time and space?


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