An Exhibition Landscape in ceysson & bénétière
Gesture in Lines, 2022
Ceysson & Bénétière, New York, USA
Apr 20 - Jun 04, 2022
Nam Tchun-Mo’s studio is located in the heart of these landscapes without quality. To get an idea, just watch Lee Chang-dong's latest film, Burning (2018). It seems to me that this landscape has rarely been filmed with such accuracy.
The studio is organized as an efficient production and storage tool. [...] The artisanal dimension of this production is not an anecdotal. As with any activity of this nature, you need to be caring and organized. Things are being developed patiently. Time is always at the heart of the production process. We are here at the opposite end of the spectrum from a spontaneous, fast, impetuous creation, a lyrical gesture; everything is thought out, thought out, measured; almost industrial, never industrial. Indeed, nothing systematic in this production, the hand is there, which ensures that the gesture, although under control, retains a certain latitude. Once again, everything is at stake between what is controlled and what escapes; a tenuous, almost imperceptible space, where the work happens, escaping the becoming object to which the workshop could have destined it, or forced it. It is in this place, difficult to identify, to name, to circumscribe, that things stand. This difficulty in apprehending also makes the quality of this work difficult to locate, unless it is enclosed in categories that are unsuitable to express its singularity. The temptation could be great to summon a certain history of abstraction, both constructed and geometric. The names of some movements and artists would come up quite quickly... Like an obstacle! I would be careful not to name them. On the one hand, to avoid, as far as possible, any European-centred reading. If Nam Tchun-Mo, like his Korean contemporaries, knows the history of Western art perfectly, even in its most recent manifestations, he also draws his art, and his vision, from a more local tradition and thought. It does not oppose traditions; nor does it fall into a form of syncretism. He convenes, as often as necessary, works, landscapes, thoughts, from here and there, for the needs of his art, and according to the path he has chosen. It is neither an international standardised art nor a local folk art. It is, like any real art, a hybrid, mixed, complex art: an impure art. And doubly so! In other words, it is free from this fiction on both a formal and a more philosophical level. No essentialism in this art. The line is clear without being authoritarian. It is not a sententious art. Nor is the artist.
Olivier Delavallade, extract from Expanses, in Beam, Lines, Spring, Stroke, Hartmann Books, 2019.