As you may have noticed, the art being posted in the “Art and Artifice in South Korea” series has become increasingly less benign. Kwon Kyung Yup started the series off in an interesting middle ground, mixing pastels with trauma. Artists like Gooroovoo and Jaya Kim are decidedly more upbeat, but as of late I’ve been posting people like Woops and Kim Ki Seok who have a far darker perspective. I think the grotesquerie is going to peak with Xooang Choi, whose exhibition “Islets of Asperger’s” is now showing at the Doosan Gallery in Seoul.

From the Doosan press release:

Xooang Choi has recognized various problems, such as the antimony that the members of modern society seem to be subjective and spontaneous, but are eventually subordinate to highly advanced systems, and expressed them using the deformation, exaggeration, and distortion of human body. His Islets of Aspergers focuses on each individual that lives in this society. Coming from the macro perspective of problems born from social structures, his works are now concentrating on the loss and isolation of individuals that live within yet are isolated.

The individuals are included in a massive social system that runs as toothed wheels, but they are in loss and isolation. They are like lonely islets that are detached from one another. Through Islets of Aspergers, he ponders what fragments the islets and makes them drift farther apart and concludes that the problem is the lack of communication as each individual confine themselves, not being able to connect to others.

While I’ve thought Asperger’s too widely applied to people that simply show signs of introversion if not a complete aversion to socialization, I think that Choi’s work here is very relevant to the topic. The majority of the pieces lack all facial protuberances and organs save one, and that one is usually the eyes. They’re beings who see but, not recognizing facial communication from others, lack it themselves. This is most striking in the piece shown at the beginning of this post in which three people are uncomfortably close to each other, virtually nose to nose, but are only talking and not seeing – communication is a cut-and-dry matter of information being conveyed through language; the other person as a being with opinions or feelings is irrelevant.

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