– Saul Bellow in Herzog
The Unwritten History of a Quixote features Nayeob Kim and Susan Kang, two artists who approach their work through play that is repetitive, laborious, idealistic and absurd. The idea of the yard sale metaphorically connects Kim and Kang’s process-based practices. At a yard sale, private objects are publicly displayed – objects that often carry a history replete with personal memories. Such objects, so dependant on the hands they fall in, fluctuate in status as containers of cultural myths and are infused with narratives that hold the imagination.
Arnold Schoenberg, a major figure in atonal music, developed the twelve-tone technique in which no single note or tonality was given the hierarchical dimensions emphasized in classical western harmony. To aid with the systematic use of all twelve tones, he devised mathematic devices. What intrigues Nayeob Kim about his devices is how they seem mathematically inaccurate, where sounds that seem unfixed and erratic are in actuality carefully considered and ordered. Kim’s project, Remoter than Egypt, consists of a series of modest-sized oil paintings on board. In an attempt to collapse the ordinary and the extraordinary through democratic reconstructions of a playground (brimming with positivist idealism), she creates archeological shapes that evoke the architecture of Egypt’s glory days.
During the last ten minutes of Michelangelo Antonioni’s L’Eclisse, a montage of tethered everyday structures stream silently before our eyes: dilapidated modernist buildings, a cross-walk, pavement, the action of the wind to the trees, a street lamp and the crescent moon. Throughout L’Eclisse these structures, slowly inching their way to the foreground, come to speak louder than the distraught romantic couple of the film (reticent lovers who express their malaise in listless meanderings through empty rooms, parks and industrial piazzas). With a subtle nod to Michelangelo Antonioni’s film, Susan Kang’s installation evokes the filmmaker’s sense of silence and shrewd attention to architectural space. The quietude of her work derives from her choice of materials: over-looked common place technologies such as saran-wrap or pencils. In The Unwritten History of a Quixote, Kang has built a bed of staples on the floor in the shape an eclipse.
-Tiziana La Melia
Nayeob Kim is a recent graduate of Emily Carr University. Born in South Korea, she moved to California and now lives in Vancouver. Focusing mostly in painting, Nayeob explores the ordinary and personal within the limited space between now/then, order/chaos, etc. Through jokes, nonsense, comedy and tragedy, the ordinary, in its subliminal mind, develops its own sensitive, intricate system.
Susan Kang is a Korean–Canadian interdisciplinary artist who graduated from Emily Carr University in 2008. She works in painting, drawing, sculpture and installation. Contrary to many suspicions, Susan Kang does not have OCD. But none of the above knowledge is of any importance.