DongKwang Jo

Artist Interview

January 3, 2016
Every weekend the theme park was so full of crowds of people. The entire place was made up of garish materials, plastics and cheap wood. I had to paint all of the buildings with images of characters; a complete fantasy land for two years. My main role was to make everything more real than reality. I also used to work as a design shop/gallery manager for a couple of years. This may have been where the foundations of my interest in material happened. The materials I chose to surround myself with are influenced by all of these different experiences. I’ve had big changes during the period of time in GSA. It paved the way to expand myself about how to see and deal with materials.

How did you start making art?

I don’t remember how I started what I’m doing now. I’ve just started naturally. I almost gave up doing work several years ago. I think, in a way, it is quite an absurd thing making art, although it is a more effective way to show my own voice. In the past, I wanted to show my thoughts to people as a sort of message. That was an important factor at least then. Currently, I have been motivated from trivial materials around me. I think art is an end in and of itself not for a massive aim. I’m trying to explore that making art is kind of making nothing or the practice of uselessness, for now.

How would you describe your art?

In my work, I am making moments in moving progress captured from reality. Most of them come out from what surrounds me. What I intend to make is quite changeable from the finish. So, I do not intend to give any particular messages. Allowing the material to be revealed with the least amount of intervention from the artist is the most ideal thing for me. I am using found objects that I am building in suit with my inspirations. For now, I am exploring the relationship of materials I have been interested in.

What inspires you?

A lot of phenomena I encounter give me inspiration; more than just materials that I picked. When I am faced with certain scenes where I am around curious tactility and their structure on its own terms that gives me inspiration. I find I have a lot more possibilities to go further to where I haven’t been. I’m also trying to internalize my inspirations.

What is your most important artist tool? Is there something you can’t live without in your studio?

The camera is an important tool in making my work. I usually record the progression of my work, which is quite an important thing because many parts of my art are just happening intuitively. The captured images that I take, works like a blueprint while I build my design. Also, I prefer to put in still photos. I believe that it feels like abstract painting, which leads to a wider scope of ideas that I had not expected.

Are you working on some new projects these days?

I arrived in Germany several days ago as part of residency programme. Changing the environment for me is a fairly crucial thing because most of my works come from my surroundings. It is quite easily influenced by whatever environment I am in. Here, in Germany, is different from before that I used to live as a whole. At the end of this programme, the small group show will be held in Leipzig on January 2016. It might be quite a big challenge for me.

How do you choose elements on your installations?

I prefer walking to taking any transport. By doing so, I can see a lot of things that I would not see on my way. One of the reasons that I prefer to use everyday materials is that I think the core things of life lie in very tiny moments in daily experiences, unexpectedly. This is not just to speak about the value of daily life. This is more close to a kind of subversion through appropriate materials that evoke undefined feelings with certain rhythms or balances. This may be one of the criteria by which I choose materials and consider how their face could be important. In this respect, I prefer materials that have an expressionless face and are on their own terms. And then the editing while I work becomes a crucial process. The factors created are important, in terms of physicality. They make a tension and instability that are ambiguous with the space they create.

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