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Seung Yul Oh Installation, Paintings, and Sculpture

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Seung Yul Oh: Huggong-Monologue, 2022, installation, 150 mm diameter x 100 metres long; Bowl, 2022, 2K paint on aluminium, 102 x 121 x 24 cm Seung Yul Oh: Huggong-Monologue, 2022, installation, 150 mm diameter x 100 metres long; Bowl, 2022, 2K paint on aluminium, 102 x 121 x 24 cm Seung Yul Oh: Huggong-Monologue, 2022, installation, 150 mm diameter x 100 metres long; Bowl, 2022, 2K paint on aluminium, 102 x 121 x 24 cm Seung Yul Oh: Huggong-Monologue, 2022, installation, 150 mm diameter x 100 metres long; Bowl, 2022, 2K paint on aluminium, 102 x 121 x 24 cm Seung Yul Oh: Bowl, 2022, 2K paint on aluminium, 102 x 121 x 24 cm; Huggong-Monologue, 2022, installation, 150 mm diameter x 100 metres long Seung Yul Oh, Bowl, 2022, 2K paint on aluminium, 102 x 121 x 24 cm Seung Yul Oh, Bowl, 2022, 2K paint on aluminium, 102 x 121 x 24 cm Seung Yul Oh, Bowl, 2022, 2K paint on aluminium, 102 x 121 x 24 cm Seung Yul Oh, Bowl, 2022, 2K paint on aluminium, 102 x 121 x 24 cm Seung Yul Oh, Bowl, 2022, 2K paint on aluminium, 102 x 121 x 24 cm Installation of Seung Yul Oh, Sonority...Ra and Sonority...O...Ra paintings upstairs at Starkwhite. Installation of Seung Yul Oh, Sonority...Ra paintings upstairs at Starkwhite. Seung Yul Oh, Sonority...O...Ra...02, 2022, acrylic on linen, 135.5 x 110 cm Seung Yul Oh, Sonority...O...Ra...02, 2022, acrylic on linen, 135.5 x 110 cm Seung Yul Oh, Sonority...Ra...05, 2022, acrylic on linen, 135.5 x 110 cm Seung Yul Oh, Sonority...Ra...05, 2022, acrylic on linen, 135.5 x 110 cm Seung Yul Oh, Sonority...Ra...02, 2022, acrylic on linen, 135.5 x 110 cm Seung Yul Oh, Sonority...Ra...02, 2022, acrylic on linen, 135.5 x 110 cm

Another more obvious interpretation of this installation is that of an out-of-control, horny, caucasian phallus—especially if one references the well known Paul McCarthy rabbit-headed sculpture, 'Spaghetti Man' (1993). Although it is an intriguing formal project with its solitary wandering fluoro pink line linking up assorted adjacent planes and intersections, the political narrative of an energetic insatiable (detached) willie is far more entertaining. The 'Monologue' of the title seems to allude to mansplaining; and the physical domination of the space to manspreading. Very clever (sly) stuff.

Auckland

 

Seung Yul Oh
Huggong-Monologue

 

9 July - 13 August 2022

Two shows of Seung Yul Oh are currently being presented at Starkwhite, in galleries upstairs and down. The large space below is devoted to an installation of a meandering inflatable pink hose and a couple of monkey sculptures; the small upstairs room to seven pristine abstract paintings.

The downstairs Huggong-Monologue installation shows a long semi-inflated pink tube extending from the first floor wall (on the left) above the staircase to down across the large ground floor, zig-zagging back and forth between walls to eventually rise up (on the right) to a corner of the wall adjacent to the downstairs office.

The gallery blurb talks about the soft dark red one sees through shut eyelids, but (personally) that is not a convincing explanation. Another more obvious interpretation is that of an out-of-control, horny, caucasian phallus—especially if one references the well known Paul McCarthy rabbit-headed sculpture, Spaghetti Man (1993).

Although it is an intriguing formal project with its solitary wandering fluoro line linking up assorted adjacent planes and intersections, the political narrative of an energetic insatiable (detached) willie is far more entertaining and (for some) scary. The Monologue of the title seems to allude to mansplaining; and the physical domination of the space to manspreading. Very clever (sly) stuff.

Seung Yul Oh also has a passion for making animal sculptures, and is well known for his standing gesticulating rats. In this show he presents white rhesus monkeys (Bowl) nimbly walking along sections of rolling (or stationary) black poles. There might be an acerbic political elucidation here with the colour choice.

Cocky and self-absorbed, with curved tails high in the air, these simians move their feet carefully. Two are mixed into the Huggong-Monologue installation, on walls and floor. Perhaps some symbolism about male desire is intended, like Picasso and his apes.

The paintings upstairs are called Sonority…Ra and Sonority…O…Ra. They carry on furthering themes from this artist’s earlier minimalist paintings and wall reliefs, especially in their inventive use of painted ‘frames’, that extend around the sides of the stretched canvases.

The front-facing rectangular plane of each painting is horizontally bisected with two contrasting hues making smaller rectangles. On the outer edges, the skinny painted ‘frames’ are usually diagonally split using other colours chromatically and tonally related to the front. These narrow slivers, with sharp piercing points at each end, interact with the two dominant, stacked, frontal canvas hues, at times approximately merging, or else providing a harsh vibrating foil.

Wonderfully engrossing, these paintings delight in showing a manipulation of peripheral planar tensions, squeezing and pulling at the much larger split rectangle with its central ‘horizon’ line. Each work has thus a unique accentuation, with four zones applying pressure from the side and top and bottom edges. And within each work, this changes subtly as the viewer walks around it.

Both shows are terrificly contemplative and rewarding! And in terms of spatial planes—flat or vertical—conceptually connected. Well worth a visit.

John Hurrell

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