Flat Flat Shiny Cat
The Korean Cultural Centre (KCC) is a multi-purpose space hosting a number of cultural programmes about Korea, its culture, history and language. Son and Reardon’s engagement – as with much of their collaborative work evolves out of what is given. In the context of the Korean Cultural Centre, London, this is influenced by artist Choi Jeong-hwa who designed the interior of the KCC giving it a particular atmosphere they were interested in; a kind of artificial reality within this multi-purpose space. They began working with this by thinking through the concepts of horizontality and superficiality.
Horizontality: as something lacking in depth. Something on the same plane as other things. In the case of the KCC, an equality of importance and emphasis between what is given and what they bring to the space
Superficiality: Existing or occurring at or on the surface. appearing to be true or real only until examined more closely. In the case of the KCC, a belonging of something that simultaneously reveals it not to belong or to belong temporarily.
They are particularly interested in and influenced by Matthew Stadler’s 2006 essay Depth Perception: Matthew Stadler on Red76 “...The ascendancy of surface and complete unintelligibility of depth goes some way toward explaining why art practices, once comfortably confined by conceptual and formal boundaries—including, crucially, the authority of the artist (the better to channel the artist’s meanings up- ward to the critics and curators who could view them from on high, or downward into the pleasing shadow land of the artist’s psyche)—now spread ravenously outward, indifferent to biography or locale, staging themselves serially across a vast horizontal plane of interchangeable actors and opportunities: the museum, a storefront, your bedroom, online, a scrap of paper. All blossom as sites of meaning [...] The ascendency of the horizontal— and note the absurd paradox of this formulation—is a turn that completely changes the possibilities and conduct of meaningful artistic practice. If we are witnessing a repudiation of depth and verticality as viable modes of thought or being, this marks an important shift in the history of art, a turn with enormous political and artistic implications...” Depth Perception, Matthew Stadler, Artforum, 2006
A consequence of their approach to working with what is given and how they add to, effect and alter this generates relationships between things – whether already existing things or things made and installed for the duration of their intervention in the KCC – and how these things are present, visible, tangible. In this way, a large part of the Centre becomes an ‘active element’ of the work. In other words, the ‘unused’ space of the KCC becomes as much a part of their intervention as the ‘used’ space of the KCC. The character, construction and design of the KCC invites this kind of intervention where different materials, spaces and realities can coexist.
Work installed in the Korean Cultural Centre
Window area: six large street-facing windows. A runway is built along the length of the six windows for hula-hoop performer to perform each day for 3 hours each day of the exhibition
Large interior space: Contains large inflatable containing the words Trying Harder. This is powered by a noisy industrial blower and inflates for approximately 20 minutes to fill the space, 4 times per day each day of the exhibition
Small interior space: Contains Simulated Ruin. This work is based on an existing wooden box concealing heating and ventilation pipes running through the KCC. We incorporated this into the work by repeating the same form and dimensions in wood
Existing wall: The overall title of Son and Reardon’s work in the KCC is installed as a typographical sign - a piece of work in its own right -and given a pivotal position in the Centre with as much weight and significance as the other work installed in the KCC.
Interior corner 1: Contains a looped video of an objet trouvé, a rotating globe on a plinth with containing the logo World Community Centre. The object rotated - with difficulty - slowly and noisily
Interior corner 2: Contains a series of drawings of KCC employees Sleeping.