Joo Yeon Park’s solo exhibition "O", with the title that refers to the Greek vowel omicron, reflects her ongoing fascination with the repetitive mechanism of words, images and sound in languages. Her reading of the classical Greek myth of Narcissus (Νάρκισσος) and Echo (Hχώ) continues to be in dialogue with her new writing, drawing, video and performative works.
However, in the exhibition "O", her focus shifts from repetition of images and words to repetition of sound. Her request for pure voice liberated from the conventional linguistic systems of writing and sounding manifests in a form of imaginary vowels in her written-drawings and a perpetual canon of her ‘vowels’ performed by singers. Vowel, the series of written-drawings that explores a gesture of writing as a form of drawing or a gesture of drawing as a form of writing, is produced in egg tempera and ink. The works in the exhibition respond to curvilinear aspects of Greek and English vowels and the distinctive rectilinear aspects of Korean vowels, which are made up of only vertical and horizontal lines at right angles. The floor installation of the work, which incorporates steel rods and glass sheets, allows the written-drawings to be read and viewed from any direction.
The written-drawings are then proposed as scores for the three-voice performance O in the spiral staircase of the building. A round melody that singers start at different times on different floors but singing the same tune has been composed by Nikos Vittis and Nassos Sopilis for the performance. However, in this spiral stairs voice performance, due to singers’ different readings of the imaginary ‘vowels’, the musical notes will be repeated but the sound of the voices won’t be, thus escaping from the meaning of languages.
Singers: Candia Bouzioti, Natalia Kotsani, Josephine Tetzopoulou
Joo Yeon Park's works have been included in international exhibitions at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston ("Your Bright Future: 12 Contemporary Artists from Korea"); ArtSonje Center ("Platform Seoul"); the 7th Gwangju Biennale ("Annual Report - A year in Exhibitions"); Rodin Gallery, Samsung Museum of Art ("One Fine Day"); and elsewhere. Her most recent solo exhibitions were at Doosan Gallery New York ("Echo of Echo I") and Doosan Gallery Seoul ("Echo of Echo II").
The exhibition “O” and the residency have been generously funded by the Arts Council Korea.