Canvas Review :: Constellation at the 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art

April 11th 2011


Get on your astronaught get-up because we’re going into space. Enter Constellation – a dynamic exhibition by four mainstage Korean artists who live and work outside their homeland. Artists Eunhye Hwang, Seung Yul Oh, Kijeong Song and Soo-Joo Yoo present an eclectic mix of performance, interactive new media, video, drawing and installation in a show that investigates at our relationship with objects, materials, other people and ourselves.


Take your first step into the gallery space and you’ll be greeted by Auckland-based Seung Yul Oh’s oversized yellow and red inflatable bouncy balls. Seemingly squashed into the gallery’s street front, the work deals with childhood memories of toys and games, which have been transformed into larger than life appropriations. There is a focus on the movement, colour and materiality of the work, which made me want to run to the nearest circus and get on the under 12’s jumping castle. Alas, with no jumping castle in sight, I continued upstairs to discover Yul Oh’s second work, Rain. As an interactive computer game, Rain invites us to go crazy on a Mac keypad. As we type, the screen in front of us details a quirky animation of rain, vegetation and animals all accompanied by strange electronic sounds.


Keeping in theme with these strange sounds, I couldn’t help but feel my palms start to sweat when I heard the eerily chilling voiceover coming from Kijeong Song’s video work, Sleep Song. Commenting on the nature of intergenerational relationships (in this case, the artists relationship with her new-born) Song’s work, despite providing the perfect soundtrack to the exhibition, came across as a bit wishy-washy due to a lack of wall text.


The stand out piece in this exhibition would have to be Sydney-based Soo-Joo Yoo’s untitled multimedia installation. Occupying almost half of the entire gallery space, Yoo’s work challenges our idea of drawing being limited to 2D form. On the gallery wall we see geometric drawings divvied up onto separate paper cards. To the left of this, Yoo has created a sculptural piece made out of wood, concrete, cellophane and wire, which mirrors what we see in the drawing, but in three dimensions. In essence, we move in and around the work and are invited to engage with different angles and view points.


For those lucky enough to make it, the exhibition’s opening was accompanied by a performance piece created by Berlin-based Eunhye Hwang. It Without a Blink was a theatrical orchestration of visitors’ names. Looking at communication through public interventions there was the chance to get your name performed to vocals and movement. If you missed it don’t feel like you’re at a complete loss – there is a chance to catch the one off performance courtesy of 4A and their flashy plasma upstairs.


For a gallery whose motto promotes cultural diversity through the arts it comes as no surprise that 4A – in this, the Australia-Korea Year of Friendship – explores the relationship between Asia and Australia. Constellation offers 4 unique artists, working across a number of different mediums and I commend it for offering exciting cutting edge art.


Who: 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art


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