Harry C. H. Choi

  • Kentaro Kawabata, Batista 1, 2020, porcelain, glass, slag, feldspar, 13 × 30 × 15 3⁄4". From “Sea Change.”

    “Sea Change”

    For a group exhibition that focused primarily on contemporary Japanese ceramics, “Sea Change” strangely commenced with Octopi 4, 1990, an eerie atmospheric photograph by Kunié Sugiura. The print features two pale silhouettes of the titular mollusks, seemingly conjoined, against a washed-out sepia background. The creatures are floating over a mass of dark-gray liquid that’s being diffused from the center of the composition—perhaps a painterly pool of expelled ink?

    This elegant study in tonality and form provided an ideal introduction to a show that explored tactility and the multifariousness of

  • Lee Seung Taek, Untitled (Burning Canvases Floating on the River), ca. 1988, C-print, 32 1⁄8 × 45 5⁄8".

    Lee Seung Taek

    Less is not always more, as the art of Lee Seung Taek shows. “Lee Seung Taek’s Non-Art: The Inversive Act,” curated by Bae Myungji, offered a welcome elucidation of Lee’s complex, maverick, and frequently erratic visual language, which has occupied a key position in the South Korean avant-garde since the 1960s. Moving beyond Lee’s best-known works—sculptures and performances that engage with natural elements and therefore could be easily misconstrued as a South Korean variant of post-Minimalism or Land art—the exhibition demonstrated the full breadth of the artist’s uncategorizable experimentation.

  • Koki Tanaka, Vulnerable Histories (A Road Movie), 2019, 4K video, color, sound, 78 minutes.

    Koki Tanaka

    Trade disputes in 2019 between South Korea and its former colonial ruler accomplished the seemingly impossible feat of further intensifying the already anguished relations between the two nations. Following the Japanese government’s decision to limit the export to South Korea of chemicals necessary for the production of semiconductors, sales of Japanese products in South Korea and the number of commercial flights to Japan plummeted. Such heated responses are well-precedented—colonial history still looms large in the public consciousness, for instance with respect to the ongoing clashes on the

  • Cyprien Gaillard, Cities of Gold and Mirrors, 2009, 16 mm film transferred to DVD, 8 minutes 57 seconds.
    picks January 03, 2021

    Cyprien Gaillard

    In his peripatetic oeuvre, Cyprien Gaillard traverses fossil remains in the marble walls of subway stations in the former Soviet Bloc; a deserted landscape in the Babylon region of Iraq with heaps of abandoned cars and half-demolished buildings guarded by armed soldiers; and the moldering remnants of a Rodin sculpture in Cleveland that suffered a bomb planted by the Weather Underground in 1970. For “Dwelling in the Ruins,” his concise, piercing exhibition at Atelier Hermès, the artist returns to the conceptual backbone that unites such disparate localities: the poetics of ruins.  

    Reinforcing

  • picks November 13, 2020

    Koo Jeong A

    Since the early 1990s, the subtle, mesmerizingly ethereal works of Koo Jeong A have sought to intensify the spectator’s perceptive capacities and defamiliarize quotidian surroundings. In Oslo, 1998, for instance, one walks into a darkened, nearly empty room to encounter modest mounds of aspirin powder lit by a cold, clinical spotlight. In Dr. Vogt, 2010, a series of pen-drawings on small sheets of photographic paper surround a fluorescent pink floor, the intense hue of which infiltrates the walls and the negative spaces of her drawings.

    Such phenomenological tropes are revisited in “2O2O,” Koo’s