Yaloo’s Solo Show Opens at Gyeonggi Museum of Modern Art

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School of Film/Video faculty Yaloo imagines a near future that explores a world shaped by humanity’s desire for immortality, strange bodies, and different species in her first-ever solo show, YALOO, running Friday, March 22 through Sunday, June 23 at the Gyeonggi Museum of Modern Art (GMoMA) in Seoul, South Korea. Organized by Gyeonggi MoMA and the Industrial Bank of Korea (IBK), the exhibition is a highlight of the Young Artists Award program, which Yaloo won earlier this year. The immersive media installation features the artist’s latest evolution of her Underwater Trilogy: Homo Paulinella the Lab, Birthday Garden, and Pickled City.

More about Underwater Trilogy from Yaloo:

“My Underwater Trilogy is a series of works that reflect stories about my creative process after I settled in Seoul during the pandemic. In a departure from my previous projects which focused on visual elements and experience, it is my first attempt to define my personal narrative as an artist.

Homo Paulinella the Lab consists of a novel, a video, and an installation that tells the story of a post-human species with an advanced digestive system that harnesses the power of science to facilitate photosynthesis. Birthday Garden is a video installation project that explores the spread of K-culture, cultural identity, capitalism, and globalism through an underwater archeological lens. Pickled City depicts an imaginary future underwater city inspired by unique folklore in the Korean Peninsula and ancient artifacts. At the same time, it acknowledges Asian stereotypes that exist in the commercial CG animation industry and builds a DIY production pipeline.”

The first part of the exhibition, titled MOT, features a 10-minute single-channel video of an imagined near-future underwater city that blends architecture influenced by the Anthropocene, natural disasters, and technological advancements of the human body. Initially showcased in 2020 as part of the Underwater Trilogy, this piece stems from careful observations of nudibranchs and other marine life around Korea’s Ulleungdo Island. Neither utopia nor dystopia, MOT portrays a symbiotic relationship between humans and non-human entities in the depths of the ocean, where time flows differently, akin to an infinite and expansive cosmos.

The show continues into a site-specific installation titled MOON, constructed from scaffolding. Emblematic of bustling urban landscapes, scaffolding embodies both a raw familiarity and an imminent sense of deconstruction. This architectural configuration affords visitors a panoramic vista of the entire space, reminiscent of the design philosophy behind traditional Korean pavilions. Much like these pavilions’ elevated height without doors or walls, MOON invites exploration from all angles, enabling viewers to gaze outwards in every direction.

Following the exploration of MOON, visitors encounter a new video work by Yaloo titled ROO, narrating the tale of the photosynthesizing “metahumans” Baby Seaweed Human, Lady Seaweed Human, and Grandmother Seaweed Human. Using scans of her own face to create this post-human species, she also adorns them with headwear inspired by the hat of Gwaebul Bodhisattva depicted in Gogureyeo murals. ROO is connected to Yaloo’s previous work Homo Paulinella the Lab, which includes video mapping and media facades infused with cyberpunk aesthetics. Initially conceived amidst the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Homo Paulinella project manifests as a diorama of slug and seaweed forms floating on the walls and windows of the exhibition hall, encapsulating the ecosystem of this post-human species.

The exhibition culminates with a video archive showcasing Yaloo’s earlier works and studies, including outdoor public art and projection mapping projects. These clips offer an immersive journey through the artist’s creative evolution, intimately linked with the Underwater Trilogy showcased at GMoMA, inviting viewers to delve deeper into Yaloo’s artistic odyssey.

CalArts Wild Beast | Image by California Institute of the Arts
PUBLISHED BY Elizabeth McRae

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