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Artist Statement by Cho Hyunjoo

When I first visited Youkobo for this residency program, I was introduced to the facility including three chests of drawers full of tools and objects meant for craft. I was stunned by how much stuff there were, and how ordinary and worn out they all seemed. I don’t mean it in a bad way; it’s quite the contrary—I was immediately drawn to how naturally aged they looked. Probably used and left by numerous artists, these tools would have had been accumulated over years of time since 1989 during which over 340 artists from 50 countries and 250 Tokyo-based artists have stayed and produced works at Youkobo.

 

I started my first studio day by looking into each drawer. Each drawer had single or related categories of item. They were like patterns. It was amusing to find their random organization becoming re-generated every time I push in and pull out the drawers. After a while I brought some objects into the studio and laid them out in the sunlight where I could see them well and closely. Raking through the dust, scratches, stains, rust, murky reflections on plastics, and fading colors with my gaze, I could find proof of time and our hands. I love photographing still-life, because I rarely have to fight with time when observing what is in front of me. I can take as much chances as I want looking into things and their faces intently enough until they become so zoomed in that it feels like a world has formed around them. Within frames, all of this can become terrains and monuments, found in less visited, mundane shelves of life.

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39 drawers and things inside / Photographic prints and object installation / 2020

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To be seen from an angle / Mixed media installation (plastic bag, lens sheet) / 2020

Perceived / Photographic prints / 2020

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Copyright © 2020 Cho, Hyunjoo