Doosan Gallery, a nonprofit gallery located in Jongno-gu, Seoul, is presenting a special exhibition entitled Rales, wheezes and crackles until December 17, 2022. A total of 13 works, including five from the Doosan Yonkang Foundation collection, will be presented at the exhibition. The works are by seven artists born between the 1990s and 1970s, including Jiyoung Keem, Sejin Park, Joo Yeon Park, Nakhee Sung, Seung Ae Lee, Kai Oh, and Hyori Cho.
According to Heeseung Choi, Curator of Doosan Gallery, the exhibition’s title, Rales, wheezes and crackles, was derived from an onomatopoeic term used in respiratory science that refers to abnormal breath sounds. These breaths are so subtle that they can only be diagnosed with a stethoscope and require close attention to be noticed. Curator Choi used these terms as a metaphor for the rapid pace of modern life, which has been steadily increasing but is hardly noticed because it has become so routine.
The exhibition began with the intention of giving some of the artworks in the Foundation’s storage a chance to come out into the gallery space and take a breath, as well as creating a space where people can take a break from the hectic pace of contemporary life. However, the breaths the exhibition suggests are not only stable and peaceful but also convey a sense of unfamiliarity and anxiety, as it is sometimes necessary to confront reality to reflect our current state.
Jiyoung Keem (b. 1987) is an artist who has been expressing the dark side of Korean society through the subject matter of light. Glow Breath Warmth (2020) is a work in which the artist used a smartphone to record sunrise and sunset at seven seaports along the west coast of South Korea, from the Incheon Sea to the site of the Sewol ferry disaster in 2014, Paengmok Port on Jindo Island. The scenery of the port is accompanied by the sounds of waves, wind chimes, and the labored breathing from walking, which the artist has collected at Paengmok Port for the past five years. The morning sky gradually turns blue, or the sunset begins to flame on the constantly but rhythmically shaking screen, and these sensations evoke a sense of being alive.
Jiyoung Keem held solo exhibitions at P21 (Seoul, 2022) and WESS (Seoul, 2020) and participated in group exhibitions at SongEun (Seoul, 2021) and the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (Gwacheon, 2019).
Sejin Park (b. 1977) uses light to paint landscapes, revealing a sense of season and temporality. Instead of capturing magnificent landscapes from Mother Nature or large cities, Park depicts scenes that may appear trivial but contain at least a glimpse of everyday life. One of Park’s exhibited works, Frost (서리_쐐기풀, 2012), captures a landscape of the countryside in South Korea. We can assume that the season is winter based on the thick clothing the figure is wearing, the dry pile of hay he is lying on, and the gray sky. The man, who is surrounded by white ducks, appears to be a foreign worker taking a nap during his break. The scenery depicts a common winter rural scene that captures a moment of relaxation after a hard day’s work.
Park Sejin has held solo exhibitions at Nook Gallery (Seoul, 2018), Doosan Gallery (Seoul, 2013), and Project Space SARUBIA (Seoul, 2006). She participated in group exhibitions held at institutions such as Space Isu (Seoul, 2022), Nam Seoul Museum of Art (Seoul, 2020), and Hangaram Museum of Art (Seoul, 1999).
Language is an important aspect of the artistic practice of Joo Yeon Park (b. 1972). For an artist who has lived in a foreign country for a long time, language is both a means of communication and an instrument of oppression, rendering perfect communication and understanding impossible. Summer Light (2008) is a video captured on an 8mm black-and-white film in Istanbul during the summer of 2008. The video is shorter than its original version, as the artist intended to show the process of the film gradually wearing out when the artwork was first exhibited. The remaining work is now only twenty-one seconds long and has been digitally converted. In the video, a woman holds a small mirror and continuously reflects light off the screen, as if she is attempting to communicate with the audience outside the video.
Joo Yeon Park held solo exhibitions at Atelier Hermes (Seoul, 2021) and Kappatos Gallery (Athens, 2015) and won the 2nd Doosan Yonkang Art Award (Seoul, 2011).
Nakhee Sung (b. 1971) creates abstract and geometric paintings that visualize musical elements such as rhythms, harmony, and melody through the layering and interweaving of dots, lines, planes, and colors. Similar to an improvised jazz performance, the artist’s brushstrokes are random and irregular, expressing her thoughts. In Resonance (2015), the lines and colors emanate from the center of the canvas and appear to extend beyond it in a combination of order and chaos. Sung adds layers of various lines, shapes, and colors to the painting to enhance its three-dimensional quality and sense of time passing.
Artist Nakhee Sung has held solo exhibitions at Gana Art Nine One (Seoul, 2022), Pibi Gallery (Seoul, 2020), and Perigee Gallery (Seoul, 2020). In 2005, she was a participant in the Korean Pavilion at the 51st Venice Biennale.
Seung Ae Lee (b. 1979) mainly works with pencil on paper. The presented works are a large-scale drawing work entitled 1979 (2010) and a video work, Becoming (2017). The artist builds a narrative structure of creation and extinction by repeatedly drawing and erasing a certain form on the paper. Even after erasing, pencil traces of such a process remain on the paper. These traces and the process of developing narratives are clearly demonstrated in her stop-motion video work, Becoming. The work’s title, 1979, is the year the artist was born. The artist’s name is engraved in large letters on the rock, which is surrounded by animals and plants with bizarrely shaped bodies. They are referred to as “monsters” by the artist, which she created to visualize the existence of the unknown. Following the trail of delicate pencil lines, the viewer enters the mythical story created by the artist.
Seung Ae Lee has participated in solo exhibitions held by Chapter Two (Seoul, 2020) and Christine Park Gallery (New York, 2018). She received both the Valerie Beston Artists’ Trust Prize (London, 2016) and the Gucci Artist Foundation Grant (Seoul, 2013).
Kai Oh (b. 1992) is an artist who conducts various experiments with photography. The exhibited works, Crab (2021), Butterfly (2021), and Sunset (2021), are part of Oh’s cotton photo series, in which certain images, particularly images of natural objects, are printed on translucent fabric and stretched over frames. In some of the pieces in this series, the artist layers transparent printed fabrics, adds additional layers of fabric and paint, or attaches glass embellishments. She also synthesizes, replicates, recombines, and transforms the images captured in nature to compare them to urban landscapes or reveal the changing nature.
Kai Oh has participated in solo exhibitions at Cylinder (Seoul, 2021) and Edel Extra (Nuremberg, 2018), as well as group exhibitions at the Bund 18 Jiushi Art Gallery (Shanghai, 2022) and Ilmin Museum of Art (Seoul, 2021).
Hyori Cho (b. 1992) paints virtual landscapes that exist on digital interfaces. She either recreates these virtual images to make them look real or skillfully transforms real images into digital ones. In the artwork I heard you looking (2021), a figure in the shape of a water drop is wearing a stethoscope and listening to its own heartbeat. The background of the water drop figure resembles light green blood vessels or tree branches. The artist’s childhood experience using a two-person stethoscope to listen to the sound of water flowing through a tree’s water pipe has made her curious about the sound of the heart. On the other hand, the work Forward (2022) recalls a scene from inside a car driving on an empty highway on a rainy night. However, the image of the rearview mirror is repeated in the painting. On the back of the painting is a completely different scene of a clear green forest, reminiscent of an early morning.
Artist Hyori Cho has participated in solo exhibitions at Gallery Anov (Seoul, 2021) and N/A (Seoul, 2020), as well as group exhibitions held at The Shophouse (Hong Kong, 2022) and BGA Maru (Seoul, 2021).