BEYOND BAR CODES
A SITE FOR MEDITATION BY JHEON SOOCHEON
CURATED BY YONGWOO LEE
ORGANIZED BY HYEWON YI AND WHITE BOX
JANUARY 22 – MARCH 1, 2008
Following his numerous indoor installations of clay figures and neon tubes, signature works for Jheon in the1990s, the past decade has seen the artist’s interest shift toward drawing lines in nature (along a river, across mountain, across a continent). The current exhibition, Reading Beyond Bar Codes, which emerges within this context, is a site-specific installation in which Jheon transforms the floor of White Box into a giant barcode that is both host to several sculptures and a platform on which the viewer himself becomes a consumer product. The exhibition presents several recent sculptures, including a statue of a seated Buddha and a huge globe covered by objects of consumer waste, both placed atop barcoded pedestals. While the viewer is invited to walk around the floor of the gallery, he is also encouraged to sit on the barcoded cushion to meditate.
Jheon believes that humanity is threatened by the loss of the true value of objects and human beings through the workings of capitalism. He warns against the growing de-humanizing effects of globalism, especially its impact on the art market. His novel use of the gallery space provides an apt setting for meditation where the viewer may contemplate the lost value of the individual and the dangers inherent in establishing a standard value for people, nations, material objects, and spirituality.