The mediated arts, or even those that are hyper-mediated, offer virtual and immersive experiences that enable people to s(t)imulate the sensory perception of their body. Over the years, this universe has created a space that changes our perception of reality and places illusion on the fringes. Specifically individual, these heightened experiences force us to redefine the notion of relationship. In digital space, new forms of connection appear that generate virtual networks and present the obvious “need for immediacy.” Having said this, are they not made to the detriment of connections that knit a relational social network? From these observations, Dong-Kyoon Nam questions the ontological nature of the virtual and digital environment.
Faced with digital and technological innovations and with the programmed obsolescence that characterizes them, the individual has no choice but to adapt and re-adapt… thus to recycle. Sensations recyclées is an exhibition featuring several sculptures made from household objects. Dong-Kyoon Nam buys these objects in second-hand stores, choosing them because they are composed of ephemeral elements: light, sound, temperature and so on. He then deconstructs them, taking apart each piece and rearranging it, but without wanting to reconstruct the initial object. In this unusual work of recombining parts, there is a transcendental proposal that invites one to reflect and think beyond the logic of appearance in favour of the need for connections, in other words the network. In doing this, the artist revitalizes the parts of a whole; he gives them new life. Thus, he shows us that each element has its own distinct and complex system, and that the sinuous relationships between them are evidence of a potential for transformation. This way of revitalizing the connections between the parts of a household object undeniably takes the form of an ontological metaphor.
Although the concept of recycling is fundamental to Dong-Kyoon Nam’s work, it is not only for its environmental implications. Indeed, it is intended more in the spirit of Deleuze. Every object is determined by an internal rhythm that allows it to exist and be seen as it is. This enables the perception of a singular space-time. By reusing second-hand domestic objects and revitalizing their internal dynamics, Dong-Kyoon Nam endeavours to reconnect us to the peculiarity of each object or each individual’s inherent rhythm and to restore relations between the universe, man and nature.
This work reflects the implications of Taoist philosophy very well, emphasizing that everything, element or individual, finds a balance in movement and transformation. From this perspective, recycling, combined with time, is not only dependent on the material: it enables sensations and perceptions to be part of the process of a revitalizing renewal.
Text by Émilie Granjon.
Translation by Janet Logan.
Dong-Kyoon Nam was born in Seoul, South Korea and now lives and works in Hamilton, Ontario. In June 2016, Nam started a new life after a series of accidental events and bureaucratic mistakes, regarding his work visa, which in November 2015 resulted in an involuntary resignation from his position as an instructor (2013-15) at the University of Manitoba. In February 2016, after living in a precarious situation, he received his permanent residency, which he had applied for with his family two years before. He now lives and works without immigration restrictions although two separate bureaucratic systems have independently impacted his sense of being. Nam uses these accidents as a creative turning point much like ‘lines of flight’ in the sense of Deleuze. These events have opened new processes of indetermination and redetermination, and have brought positive changes and transformations to his creative research, as well as to his practical and social life, overturning potential risks and negativity. He holds a BFA from the University of Windsor (2010) and received his MFA in sculpture from the University of Victoria (2012). Since 2013, he has shown his work across Canada at galleries and artist-run centres such as Truck Contemporary Art (Calgary), Open Space (Victoria), Centre des arts actuels Skol (Montreal) and Modern Fuel (Kingston, upcoming). He is a member of Hamilton Artists Inc. and the Hamilton Arts Council.
Émilie Granjon is the director of CIRCA art actuel, an artist-run centre in Montreal. She holds a PhD in Semiotics (UQAM, 2008) and is a researcher in visual semiotics and an independent curator. As part of her thesis, she focused her research on the semiotics of alchemical symbolism in Atalanta Fugiens (1617) and has published Comprendre la symbolique alchimique (PUL: Québec, 2012). Her interest in contemporary art has led her to co-write with Fabienne Claire Caland the book entitled Les cinq fabricants d’univers : Altmejd, Shary Boyle, Rosalie Gagné, Laurent Lamarche and Véronique La Perrière (NB: Montreal, 2017 ). In 2014 under the aegis of ARPRIM, she and Lysette Yoselevitz co-curated the traveling group exhibition L’art imprimé : entre mixité et hybridité, presented at the National Museum of printmaking in Mexico City, the Arts Center of Guanajuato and at the San Pedro Puebla Museum. In 2015 and 2016, she organised the group exhibition Espace imprimé, espace ouvert, highlighting 50 years of Atelier Graff at Maison de la culture du Plateau-Mont-Royal in Montreal.