24 Feb 2010 — 27 Mar 2010

 Jackson Hong's page
Jackson Hong

Gallery 2 presents Jackson Hong’s solo show as its second exhibition of 2010. Concentrating on the everyday objects’ surface and the multiple layers of meaning projected and inscribed on it, the artist has kept working on what could it mean to make a concrete object and also to exhibit, sell, or use it especially in between the currently changing border between design and art.

In 2008, the artist held his solo show also at Gallery 2, where a series of everyday objects were displayed, each of which was enclosed in a glass box with an instruction "Break glass in case of emergency." The objects, manipulated according to the logic of spectacle and locked in a case looking like a picture frame, were nominally functional but actually unavailable. They made a gesture of vulnerable fetish; if someone had wanted to drag it down to the proper position of tool, he or she needed only to break the glass plate and grab it with hands. But no one dared to touch the things displayed as artwork in the gallery. Staging such a familiar and yet uncomfortable situation in which the ideal relationship between tools and Homo Faber was suspended under the mutual agreement, the artist raised some fundamental questions. What is the world of artificial objects we made, and what could it be Do we have an ability to find out another possibility and reach out for it

By extension, the artist builds a monumental stage for an absent no more or not yet existing order of things in this show. While the previous works somehow kept the appearance of finished product ready to be displayed in a department store, these new works look like a mock-up or even a death mask. Each of the white mass, almost fluctuating, has a visual trace of functional object but does not take the alibi of functionality any more. Besides, the unprecedented 2-dimensional works are also remarkable. Here the artist appropriates a vocabulary of existing visual languages, strictly defined and actually being used in some specialized domains but not so familiar to the ordinary consumers. These arbitrarily chosen visual signs and the strangely modified objects are ambiguously related to and sliding by each other. The exhibition space is perplexingly organized like a first scene of escaping game. The audience should be a detective to find a clue to solve the puzzle and see an ending scene, but the ending is not previously determined. Then the plastic safety helmet hanging in the room with the words “Naive and Optimistic” looks almost irritating.

The title ‘ectoplasma’ is a conjugation of two Greek words ‘ectos’ means ‘outside’ and ‘plasma’ means ‘something formed or molded’ and usually refers to ‘some material through which an invisible spirit or ghost is embodied’ in spiritualism. As an imperfect body temporarily given to the dead by a medium, it is ‘after death,’ and also suggests an abnormal restoration or birth. And of course, it is a cheap prop of the magical spectacle that emerged at the apex of rationalistic culture, co-produced by the two active minds eager to deceive and to be deceived. No matter how it is understood, Jackson Hong’s Ectoplasma would be an uneasy stage where everyone could see its own dream.
Installation view