Kichang Choi Reimagines Love Through Forms

  • by The Cartellino Team

Seventeen paintings of lyrics extracted from anthems, war songs, and ballads hang all over the exhibition’s three floors. In the absence of a melody or a beat, the works articulate harmony through color. The shift of mediums from sonorous to visual, though, is a break from one form of impermanence for the other. Proclamations of love sung in the context for country, religion, or person become utterances indistinguishable from daily life.

Cartellino Kichang Choi, Sincerely, 2020_ Oil paint on oxidized steel plate, 150 x 120 cm
Sincerely, 2020
Oil paint on oxidized steel plate
150 x 120 cm
Cartelino Kichang Choi, Warlike 2020_ Oil paint on oxidized steel plate, 120 x 90 cm
Warlike, 2020
Oil paint on oxidized steel plate
120 x 90 cm

It’s this tension of a costly exchange to create something new that punctuates the show; how repetition becomes recreation and effects a loss, paradoxically, for preserving the relics we hold dear. In the way that metaphors — doomed to become cliché — are made to reiterate a simple “I love you,” Choi traces the inevitable trajectory beginning with cultural chants over to iconography and myth.

Amid the oil paintings hangs a silkscreen image of a reconstituted Pieta. Elsewhere in the exhibit is Creation of God, after another work of Michelangelo’s and likely the most provocative, which inverted the positions of Adam’s and God’s hands. This photo manipulation, displayed as halftone fragments, has the appropriated Pieta and Creation appear as gestalts, pulling the focus away from the original subjects and toward the visible configuration of their parts.

Cartellino Kichang Choi, Pieta, 2020_ Silkscreen on oxidized steel plate, 210 x 180 cm
Pieta, 2020. Silkscreen on oxidized steel plate. 210 x 180 cm
Cartellino Kichang Choi, Creation of God, 2020_ Silkscreen on oxidized steel plate, 70 x 180 cm
Creation of God, 2020. Silkscreen on oxidized steel plate. 70 x 180 cm

The series Better Than Future, on the other hand, offers a counterpoint to such control by stressing the physicality of the medium — how the material resists. In the production for each work, a magnet was tossed onto a steel plate and then painted over. The sixteen images displayed are as much the results from chance and randomness as they are from compulsion, magnetism, a ‘push and pull.’

Cartellino Kichang Choi, Better than Future, 2020_ Oil paint on steel plate, each 60 x 50 cm
Better than Future, 2020
Oil paint on steel plate, each
60 x 50 cm
Cartellino Kichang Choi, Better than Future, 2020_ Oil paint on steel plate, each 60 x 50 cm
Better than Future, 2020
Oil paint on steel plate, each
60 x 50 cm

The triptych of the ribbed sea, entitled after Nietzsche’s quote, Perhaps We Shall Meet Again But Fail to Recognize Each Other may provide a sense of finality to this exchange, if only in hindsight. Unlike the appropriated images, the image is not split nor divided; the screens are three separate figures, new identities emerging from the flux. 

One Kiss is on view from February 11 to March 8, 2020 at One and J. Gallery.

Cartellino Kichang Choi, Perhaps We Shall Meet Again But Fail to Recognize Each Other, 2020_ Silkscreen on oxidized steel plate, 120 x 270 cm
Perhaps We Shall Meet Again But Fail to Recognize Each Other, 2020. Silkscreen on oxidized steel plate. 120 x 270 cm
All photos courtesy of One and J. Gallery
Anchor photo: Double Peaks, 2020. Silkscreen on oxidized steel plate. 120 x 180 cm