17 Feb - 17 Mar 2019
The Daniel Benjamin Gallery is pleased to present Invisible Balance, Shinuk Suh's first solo exhibition in the UK.
Shinuk Suh is a South Korean visual artist whose practice commands a narrative heavily influenced by the artist’s upbringing and growth. Suh was raised in a strict Christian family and spent his childhood in a nation in the midst of exponential economic growth and tinged by the remnants of a military regime. In this exhibition, the artist features works focused on the themes of the interior equilibrium, tragedy through comedy and the notion of an object being more real than reality.
Suh’s works convey that there exists an interior equilibrium within all of us. He perceives himself as being composed of many different pieces, always seeking to be perfectly balanced in order to maintain his whole. He writes, “The titles that I have had over my lifetime (son of a pastor, theology student, hotel management student, military police officer, fairy tale illustrator, foreigner living in London, young Asian) are elements that have formed me, and are at the same time elements that confuse my identity to this very day”. Every object in his work is representative of the different selves, and the equilibrium is a manifestation of one’s differing personalities, obstacles and characterisations that form a perfectly balanced finished sculpture of the self. The Invisible Balance refers to the metaphorical balancing act itself and the intangible things that are being balanced.
These ideas are exemplified in works such as Complexity (2017) and Invisible Balance (2017). While Better Luck Next Time (2018) tells the story of one who was not strong enough to sustain the balancing act and has instead been crushed under the pressure of competing selves. In I Don’t Want to do the Laundry (2018) the playfulness of the laundry, the colours, sounds and quirky materials used almost conceal a deeper discomfort - that of the selves gyrating uncontrollably. Suh explains, “The cartoonish imagination examined in my work suggests a deliberate avoidance of the untruthfulness and absurdity of the real world, and yet at the same time, is very much focused on expressing how difficult it can be to distinguish between comedy and tragedy in such a world...by portraying reality in an exaggerated and ridiculous way”. Finally, in works such as Where has the Sugar come From? (2017), Suh explores the question “how real is reality?”. Next to the real objects, he abuts a TV screen with sharper, more vivid images than are visible in reality and in comparison to the real objects. Now the images seen on the screen have become more real than the reality. Along that same line, Study for Schizophrenia (2018) shows the arbitrary movements of self-animated socks playing with the viewer’s sense of pareidolia and investigating mental issues.