Turning Silver Into Gold: Michael Joo And Paul Black In Conversation


Michael Joo was kind enough to talk to Paul Black about the fascinating nature of his practice, and the artist’s new exhibition Radiohalo, at Blain|Southern London. The show is a major exhibition of new works by the acclaimed conceptual artist, and is Joo’s largest solo show in London to date.

Here, the artist presents his new series of ‘caloric paintings’, in which Joo meticulously calculates the number of calories individuals would expend performing various actions. Juxtaposing form, substance, and action to create his unique version of painting. The artist works across a variety of media, incorporating themes of energy, nature, and technology, creating a complex and rich oeuvre of work, exploring identity and the body often by its absence or energy processes.

Image: Radiohalo Installation Shot, Blain|Southern, London. Photo: P A Black © 2016.

Joo combines the principles of painting, photography, print-making and sculpture, working with silver nitrate solution, creating works that are temporal in nature as the silver nitrate transforms over time, until the artist ceases the chemical process, sealing the work for all time. Joo investigates the meaning and value of the body and identity, adding a performative element to the works.

Image: Prologue (Montclair Danby Vein Cut) (2014-2015). Photo: P A Black © 2016.

The artist’s sophisticated practice continues to operate metaphysically, alchemically, poetically, conceptually, synthetically and even politically, by exploring the boundaries of human identity and body, and how it is given form and potential meaning via process, time, and action.

About the artist:

Michael Joo was born in 1966 in New York. He received his MFA from the Yale School of Art, Yale University, in 1991, after graduating with a BFA from Washington University, St Louis. In 2001 together with Do-Ho-Suh he represented South Korea at the 49th Venice Biennale and in 2006, he was awarded both the grand prize of the 6th Gwangju Biennale and the United States Artists Fellowship. This year he presented a monumental site-specific installation at Sharjah Biennial 12: The past, the present, the possible, Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah. His work is in numerous public and private collections, including FNAC, Paris; Guggenheim Museum, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Samsung Centre for Art and Culture, Seoul and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

Lead image: Michael Joo at Blain|Southern, London. Photo: P A Black © 2016.

Words: Michael Joo with Paul Black, P A Black © 2016. Photos: P A Black © 2016.

Michael Joo: Radiohalo – Blain|Southern – until 9 April 2016.


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