East Contemporary

Artsonje: Abraham Cruzvillegas “Autodestruccion8: Sinbyeong”

Seoul, April 11 – July 26, 2015, http://artsonje.org/

Piles of trash and ripped out walls, all neatly arranged – that’s what’s on display. It looked strange at first, but as I took my time and wondered around, pieces started to fit together.

IMG_20150710_173523Cruzvillegas’ main topics seem to be urban space, the process of de/construction of people’s living space and gentrification. He does not provide any answers or conclusions to these problems, but he provides situations and spaces where visitors can reflect on these issues. It’s a bit like wondering around a trash dump or a house right before demolition. Out of the multitude, different objects are caught by the viewer’s eye, and one thinks about the histories these discarded objects had. However then the wondering eye shifts towards the horizon and the thoughts drift away too. Once the refuse is transported into the gallery and arranged (very neatly by young Korean ‘collaborators’) there is no horizon to look at and one is trapped in one room with these objects. One cannot but wander around and observe and wonder. This is the thought space created by Cruzvillegas.

One floor of construction refuse arranged into a spiral shape with an aquarium with an Axolotl in the middle is complemented by another floor completely empty only with supporting frames and wall marks left after the walls itself have been removed plus a small ‘backstage’ room with glass plates, plants and rock music. In the middle of the empty room, there is a mobile phone playing back a performance of a single performer in the space.

The third exhibition space is a ‘study room’ with reading materials and a two-channel video. The reading materials relate to aforementioned topics of urban space etc. but also on metaphorical connections like the Axolotl and his lifelong existence in a larval stage. The videos show interviews with two Mexican inhabitants talking about the development of their neighborhood over time, from self-help to managed development and gentrification.

So in the end, what seemed like a pile of trash and empty gallery, is in fact a loaded story space. A city turned outside in.

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