Kwantaeck Park: Appropriate Fear
Kwantaeck Park‘s works within the exhibition, “Appropriate Fear,” at PlatteForum are placed, similar to painter and installation artist Lee Kit (or somehow even Jesper Just), in a delicately nuanced, idiosyncratic way that shows a tremendous understanding of the relationship between space, movement and conceptual object.
The performative wood sculpture, Action for Music, Music for Action, with it’s hand crank and slotted animated view of a boy crouching under his school desk to the sound of a warning siren sets up the next installation. Mundane Echo with appropriated radios set atop black spindle columns and synced to play the sound and rumble of low flying jets forms an oval of hushing sound. Park’s graphic punch and quirky humor in the photographic triptych, Shoot, Shoot, Shoot, is a lure into the corner of the space.
The hunch-like forms repeated in the men’s upside down underwear, the Absolute Vodka advert and series of used targets builds a peeking narrative. Shoot, Shoot, Shoot is not hung centered on the wall but indirectly working a corner where when turning back to the exhibition, up high, engaging the lines of the ceiling, a single channel video loop, Game for Status Quo (#1 tug of war), is tucked above into the right opposing corner. Two men stand upon a plinth with the iconically large Colorado sky above their head as they tug back and forth to equilibrium. This image of a tug of war leads into the living space he’s been using during his residency. Is this a game tactic? That context is bit too easy and the work is too layered for it to rest in that moment.
Right there, again at that place within the exhibition is a nice sweeping gesture to the light blue painted wall on the opposite end where the light click of an adding machine in the installation piece, Sound like catching cloud, plays a hand-written ticker tape listing hopes to not be hungry, to be able to rest, to live freely. These are things about living transitionally, about money and lightness. Having emigrated from Korea and now living in New York where he’s just graduated from the School of Visual Arts his work seems to test imposed limitations.
This pragmatism is real. Unlike Lee Kit, and akin to most artists, Park didn’t have a million dollar budget to completely remake the well-worn space to suit his exact needs. Artists experience this limitation within the PlatteForum space, these kinds of limitations of space often, yet Park has solved this problem most admirably. As with the piece Mundane Echo Park rests his work lightly on the ground and draws the eye up to the soaring urban ceiling.
These small details within his work offer empathetic connections. He’s just open enough, uses that perfect amount of dry, or material humor, that allows me to see him and (to use his words) step inside. Park has an attuned, authentic awareness. Hearing from him about some of his experiences during his two-year, mandated army service in his homeland, Korea, I was reminded of my young French friend, Michael, who struggled to find solid footing after his own mandatory service. Accepting where the water wants to land, reinforcing what may have started, as unintended growth, can be a beautiful thing.
PlatteForum 1610 Little Raven St, Suite 135 Denver, Colorado 80202- through March 15, 2014