Situated Senses : Inclined Angles
20 MAY - 05 JUNE 2011
HOLMAN HOUSE, LONDON
'A space exists when one takes into consideration vectors of direction,
velocities and time variables. Thus space is composed of intersections of mobile elements. It is in a sense actuated by the ensemble of movements deployed within it. Space occurs as the effect produced by the operations that orient it, situate it, temporalize it, and make it function in a polyvalent unity of conflictual programmes or contractual proximities.’
Michel de Certeau, ‘Space’ and ‘Places’ (1980)
Time and space occupied by Situated Senses.
Situated Senses is a project which introduces contemporary artists who focus on the
theme of space, in particular site-specificity. They present experimental form of artwork closely related to the specific feature of a space which is differentiated from the typical form of exhibit spaces.
The title of the project, ‘Situated Senses’, is partly inspired by the notion of a space as defined by Michel de Certeau. As shown in the opening quotation, spatial relations are the cores of the project. As participants of the project, the artists focus mainly on the interpretation of the space as a place for their artistic experiments and challenges, and the way in which each artist expresses his senses around the nooks and crannies of various art forms. The notion of the title, ‘situated’, gains importance in terms of the contexts, in which artists expose their senses in relation to the space. As its literal meaning suggests, this notion originates from the texts of the 1960s movement, the Situationist International(SI). According to the SI, the situation is a created and an organized moment, seeking to find artistic productions the constructed situations, which is relatively durable in comparison to the ephemeral and unique instant. Therefore, the ‘situation’ refers to an intermediary stage between instant and moment, that is, particularised and unrepeatable.
In this vein, Situated Senses presents two prominent contemporary Korean artists, Shan Hur and Soon-Hak Kwon. Hur and Kwon have created a unique situation in a void space where its original use was far removed from the traditional meaning of exhibit spaces. The space was built to be a design office in the 1980s and there are plans to transform it into a gallery space (HANMI GALLERY) in the near future. In the meantime, the plan is to use this space for artistic trials and experimentations by talented young artists. In this way, the empty space becomes a laboratory and the artists become practitioners.
The project unfolds with two distinct solo exhibitions. Each artist shows the coexistence and collision of contradictory states in the spaces of daily life (Shan Hur) and the interrelationship between a sense of distance and space originating from the psychology of visual experience (Soon-Hak Kwon). The works’ outgrowth was generated from a penetrating observation about the space during the preparation for the exhibition.
Hur has constructed two huge installation works which embody the site-specificity by deploying pre-existing construction materials and the structure of the space. Hur has created a slightly slanted angle from the wooden floor of the space and achieved a delicate situation by building subtle distinctions with the unstable floor. While Hur concentrates on the structure of the space and the uniqueness buried in everyday life, Kwon deals with the history of the space which covers a narrative meaning of site-specificity. Kwon has created two double-layered spaces by installing hyper-real photographic images on the walls. These images are closely related to the past and the future of the space in which the works will be displayed. With regard to the concept of the works, Kwon developed his idea based on the contextualization of the past (as a design office in the 1980s) and future uses (as a gallery space in 2012) of the space and produced coexisting states of different time tenses in the same place. Overlapping situations in a perspective, these spaces trick viewer’s eyes within the illusionary space.
To particularise the space, each artist has created inclined angles between the walls and the artworks, which are intentionally distorted to arouse a sense of strangeness and curiosity. The inclined angles, which are created and disguised by both artists’ creative senses, are the point where artistic senses are most prominent. The artists address their visual identities raised by the site, and those hidden senses can be ascertained by the viewers’ faculties of observation and perception. This is reminiscent of Robert Morris’ concise statement on the relationship between art and its situation within: ‘Art is primarily a situation in which one assumes an attitude of reacting to some of one’s awareness as art.’ Unwittingly encountering the ways in which each artist created specific situations by articulating spatial relations, viewers might come to realise the meaning of site-specificity and identify its crucial role in the two artists’ works, both consciously and unconsciously.
Situated Senses does not seek to present works of art in spaces. It rather finds the ultimate meaning of existence or raison d’être, as a situational artwork and its concept derived from a consideration of the place. This project will continue to develop its experimental movement to arouse viewers’ latent senses that situates within their inner world, and to touch viewers’ daily lives through active participations of their movement in the space, which is occupied by the artists’ existing senses.
Jay Jungin Hwang (Independent Curator)