Blain|Southern Announces Major Solo Exhibition For Korean/American Artist Michael Joo


Blain|Southern has announced a major solo exhibition of new work by acclaimed US artist Michael Joo. Joo is a conceptual artist who works across a variety of media, the artist blurs the boundaries between art and science. Themes of energy, nature, technology, history and perception recur throughout his practice as he examines narratives of places, people and objects.

By juxtaposing various pools of knowledge and culture Joo addresses the fluid nature of identity itself. The artist does so by making use of an extensive variety of medium: video, sculpture, installations out of any sort of material ranging from bamboo to human sweat and cameras, drawing and print making.

Image: Michael Joo, Man Made Monstrous (Eikasia) 2012, courtesy of the gallery.

“The artist, unlike many of his contemporaries, employs a rarely seen range of language and structure. Joo’s work represents a turning point in the language of contemporary sculpture. Like Beuys, he creates a rich and complex oeuvre that is often misunderstood. The artist’s work is considered to have shamanistic overtones by some due to this reflective nature. Joo’s work embodies the eclectic character of the information age; his work represents the reaction of an artist bombarded by image upon image, page upon page of seemingly miscellaneous elements.” – Paul Black, Managing Editor.

Image: Michael Joo, Mongoloid-Version B-29 (Miss Megook Painting #1), 1993-2003, courtesy of the gallery.

For Bodhi Obfuscatus (Space Baby), 2005, Joo surrounds an ancient Buddha sculpture with a matrix of cameras that film the Buddha and project the video onto a second atmosphere of screens (lead image). What the artist calls a “space helmet” – the extremely complex process of recoding, transmitting and repeating an object that forms the sculpture as a whole – creates an interaction between viewer and work filtered through modern communication technology.

Image: Michael Joo, Visible 1999-2000, Urethane, nylon, plastic, glass, walnut, patinated steel, courtesy of the gallery.

With the artist’s work a dialectic evolves that questions the development of identity in modern culture. Joo: “I think that our culture is hungry for ever-increasing complexity in the face of the homogenisation effect that our information technology inspires.”

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 – Bodhi Obfuscatus (Space Baby), 2005 – courtesy of the gallery.

Michael Joo – Blain|Southern – 10 February to 24 March 2016.