Lot Content

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(Born in 1980)
signed 'Choi So Young' in Korean (lower left)
300 x 150 cm. (118 x 59 in.)
Executed in 2002
CAIS Gallery, Korea Hong Kong
CAIS Gallery, Hong Kong, China, 2007.

Lot Essay

Encountered almost daily, jeans and city have become unconsciously monotonous, anesthetizing our visual reaction today. The claustrophobic array of congested buildings ignites a sight overkill, causing a numbing effect in appreciating these edifices for its individual charm. However, Choi So Young brilliantly maneuvers these two subjects to re-awake an old and yet new perspective of city and jeans, gently citing her subjective social sentiments.

Choi's dexterous handling of denim with her nostalgic attachment to jeans allows her to flexibly and infinitely offer highly articulate and sophisticated cultural commentaries delivering it with a quiet and romanticized composition. Capturing a city in a distant composition, the spectator is overlooking a view that appears tranquilly enthralling with minute details composing a poetical grandness. The quixotic assembly of the city brings back a sense of appreciation for a place that is inevitably blinded by the banality of everyday. With this universal experience, the audience partakes of the same sensibility but with more introspective responses to the landscape. The rhythmic variation of the diminutive architecture unveils the lyrical imagination of the audience, stirring up an inner-childish curiosity for narratives in each building. The city's charm is accentuated by the graceful subtleties of blue summoning a dream like atmosphere, dazing the audience's thoughts to paint scenarios to bond a personal dialogue to the city. She skillfully liberates the audience out of the hectic noise of the city into a hushed distance to overlook the metropolis, tranquilly meditating the audience to build a fondness to the city, in which the utilization of denim furthers the appeal as universally recognized comfortable attire.

An article of clothing protects and redefines human bodies. A facet of physical appearance, it became a social significance as a new form of communication. The innate necessities of humans are correspondingly found in jeans; the requisite for shelter, protection, collective acceptance and urge for self-expression. The hard-wearing woven cotton confirms its durability, demonstrating its protection and its ability to form a shelter for our bodies. Commonly favored by all, jeans are collectively accepted and can also accommodate to each individualistic style for self-expression. By means of appropriating recycled clothing, Choi directly transfers the human spirit into the landscape by displaying the biological degradation of the texture and color of the denim to recite the journey since it was first worn. Jeans transform primarily by environment, whether it be a biological deterioration through time or manmade through dying and tearing, in overall revealing the traces of history and personality of its owner. This tasteful riddle is uncovered with sundry texture and color bringing new visual amusement and depth of narration to the variation among repetition in the inaudibly and yet shrewdly created cityscape. The artist's personality can be found in her economically utilized material she elegantly consumes and supplements, indicating her habitual past of wearing handed-down jeans from her older sister.

Timidly criticizing on the materialism that clothing bestows on society in categorization of social class, occupation and income, Choi inserts different jean logos as advertisement billboards in the oeuvre to remind us that jeans is a form of a collectible, hence an entity for materialism. The devotion to material possession is often seen as excessive wealth, also applicable to city structure. The undue buildings occupy space vertically and horizontally creating neurotic symptoms such as claustrophobia. Technological production has had inevitable influence on materialistic culture of the contemporary world, with its endless manufacture of objects also resulting in production of excessive objects that grant individuals an effortless and addictive inclination towards materialism. The tech-savvy convenience invented by modernization in advanced industrial societies has ironically lead to a surprising inconvenience, effecting individuals with feelings of anxiety and confusion of their identity. The complex phenomena of pluralism open up diverse principles and customs, where an individual self-appoints into particular groups. The unnecessary scope of choices instigates hesitancy and migratory characteristics of an individual, causing a metaphysical loss of comfort and home with their inability to settle.

Choi shares the humble beauty of her hometown Busan as she endeavors to create an inviting milieu to relieve the social economic behavior of homelessness felt amongst the contemporary society. The gratification and security her hometown provides her is visible in her proficient competence to utilize rigid denim to whimsically poetize an astonishingly compact description of her city. The artist's sincere generosity and willingness to share the warmth of her hometown is what compels the audience to her work. The pleasant aroma of the tinted dusk in consoling harmony with the vertical panorama conjures an ambiance of city at rest. The sinuous waves of the peach sundown resting on top of the blue monotone of the city instantly yet patiently bring peace to mind; a peace comparable to the self-reflection at the end of an eventful day.

The ingenious awareness of medium and subject matter is what sustains Choi's brilliance in enticing new perceptions into appreciating her oeuvres even with her dogged specificity in locality and of the same medium. Through her sincerity and belief, she manages to speak successfully, moreover coyly of her cultural and social concerns in anthropological reductivity reflecting her conscious technical decision in adopting a simplified yet nostalgic aesthetic arrangement in landscape which seemingly appear homogeneous but in fact holds profound connotations of complex veracity of modernism. Thriving to alleviate the nausea of modernization and the solitude of isolation, Choi expresses her token of support to society by benignly sharing the charm of humble yet stunning panorama of Busan.

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