Jewyo Rhii: Night Studio
October 26, 2013 – January 12, 2014
Jewyo Rhii: Night Studio
Night Studio is a project by Jewyo Rhii in which the artist, in the form of a series of open houses, opened to the public the row house apartment in the Itaewon district of Seoul. She lived and worked in the place for approximately three years, beginning in 2008.
The Itaewon market street, the background of Night Studio, was exceedingly noisy in the morning and daytime hours, but became desolate to the point of silence after the storefronts had lowered their shutters at night. Influenced by this environment, a starkly contradictory day and night existed at her studio, which was located at the end of a cramped market street of shops dealing in bags, socks, Korean souvenirs, old U.S. Army paraphernalia, and imitation designer goods. Once the daily hustle of eking out a living had subsided, a poignancy of consciousness and sensation found itself converging with the controlling space and time; Rhii called it Night Studio.
The artist examined the practical decisions as well as the aesthetic and semantic choices that arose by necessity due to her working in her living space, and utilized the conceived or transformed objects, drawings, and installations emerging from those acts both to understand her own environment and to generate a record of the stories that transpired. Thereafter, under the title Night Studio, Rhii opened her live-work space to the public on four occasions, with each open house limited to a certain number of visitors. Many objects and things appeared while they did not have names. The forms and purposes were free to be precarious in their process of transformation in the house. Later, Rhii gave a title to each open house depending on their respective situations and circumstances; these were New Comer, Far Sight, Wall to Talk to, and I Can Tell the Time.
The works in Night Studio—having departed the Itaewon market street in 2011 and traveled through museum exhibitions in the Netherlands and Germany before returning to Korea and arriving at Art Sonje Center—became to meet the ‘public moment’ as Rhii said. The works are each displaced in divergent times and spaces, and thus their purposes seem to fade and disappear but also new relationships and accumulated times would born and appear in the new changes.
The solo exhibition of Jewyo Rhii’s is realized in collaboration with the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, the Netherlands and MMK, Museum fur Moderne Kunst Frankfurt am Main in Frankfurt, Germany. From 2012 to 2013, Walls to Talk to, encompassing Night Studio and also introducing Rhii’s works Two and Lie on the Han River, was presented at these two museums. Art Sonje Center focuses on Night Studiopresenting the artist’s trajectory that began as she departed from her private space and arrived to a public space as a new Night Studio.
Jewyo Rhii introduced her works of art, which she produced for about 5 years from 1998, mainly in the form of books in which an environment of the birth of works and the gradual flow of time are revealed. She published three art books in which urgent efforts that a man makes to improve the physical and mental environment of the everyday life are disclosed humorously in the form of photos, drawings and unique makings. Afterward, being interested in herself as an artist in non-retrospective nowness, coincidences that vary depending on the places, spontaneous events, and unfamiliar space and in the dynamics of each exhibition factor, she engages in many exhibition activities. Her interest of other’s matter through the experience of her living abroad in many different cultures shows in the ephemeral objects with temporary materials and fast drawings that deal with the insecurity, resentment, deficiency and vulnerability in individual existence. She often uses none-finite installation method, expressing the manner of hesitation and the pendency in the exhibition. Her recent works are distinctly characterized as undisclosed stories arising from a unique relationship that the other person’s drifting life toward a particular fate has with the artist’s continuing life. Rhii’s unique method of physically, even corporeally recording those moments and stories in her recent pieces is a striking moment in the current progression of her work.