November 21, 2011

Yiji Hong, "Something Between Nothing", Solo Show in the Fishbowl Gallery

Review by Sophie Buonomo, History of Art and Design Graduate Student (2013)
"Remains", 2010, gloves, canvas, charcoal powder

    Yiji Hong’s solo show, on view in the Fishbowl Gallery, is simple, spare, and conceptually lovely. A visitor to the Fishbowl Gallery might not even realize immediately that there is even a show on display – Hong’s work is quiet, and calls little attention to itself. However, this subtlety belies an energy and even a playfulness that becomes evident as one considers the work.

On display is the evidence of a performance called Vanishing (which will soon be in video form on her website, In this performance, Hong shifts black powder from one sheet of paper to another. The effect is two-fold – first, the physical evidence of the shift (that is, a streak of black powder) remains on each sheet. Second, with each shift, there is less powder, and the marks become lighter and lighter. However, the powder never fully disappears, which, for Hong, represents the failure of the artist to fully transcend her materials.

Hong turns material into art, and the evidence of her artistic process becomes the artwork itself.  In the gallery, we encounter a bag of scrap paper, powder-blackened gloves, and a rusty lock box. In this lock box, hidden from our eyes, lays torn paper – the evidence of Hong destroying her art at the end of the process. For all of this conceptual gravitas, there is lightness in the physicality of the work - the delicateness of the powder, and the simple exploration of material interaction.

detail from "Container", 2010,mixed media
Hong describes her anxiety as an artist, which she feels     stems from the question: “how do I overcome the white sheet of paper?” The tension between an artist and her materials is nothing new, to be sure. Yet, Hong’s process, at once both meditative and witty, infuses this difficult and ancient relationship with an enormous amount of light.


Exhibition Photos by Lauren Smith

This exhibition is part of the Student Exhibition Spaces Program coordinated by the Center for Career and Professional Development at Pratt Institute.  All current students can submit work for inclusion in future exhibitions by emailing for more information.

No comments:

Post a Comment