Reconsidering the Commonplace: Jihyun Hong’s (extra)ordinary at UICA
by Zachary Johnson
With (extra)ordinary Jihyun Hong invites us to see everyday objects not by their familiar functions, as sponges, spoons, pineapples, etc. but as the interesting visual objects that they really are. A pineapple is a piece of food, sure, but also a bright, spiky, sweet-smelling ball of armor. For her installation, she collects objects, spending time with them until she gains an affection for them, finding ways to present them in odd, new ways. In her work at the UICA, she’s placed these objects within a colorful space covered in silver plastic. I asked her where we are when in the space, “A cartoon? A dream? Your mind?” She replied, laughing playfully, “my mind”.
One way we can look more deeply at Jihyun’s work is as a collection of surrealist objects. Beginning in the 1920’s in France, Surrealists like the American Man Ray altered objects in strange new ways, like attaching tacks to the bottom of an iron. This simple change imbued the object with meaning and symbolism that didn’t exist before. Together these items suggest violence and ruin rather than their former domestic functions. Similarly, Jihyun’s combinations give us food for thought about food production, artificiality, etc. Surrealists aimed to “bewilder sensation” and through Jihyun’s works we can bewilder our own and find new meanings in the everyday.
More images, info, and a great video profile on Jihyun can be found via her Art Prize profile here. Her work is currently on display at the UICA as part of their Art Prize 7 exhibition
Sense up through October 18.
Man Ray, Cadeau (1920), Indestructible Object (or Object to be Destroyed). 1964.