Alejandra de Argos by Elena Cué

Spa & Beauty. Geumhyung Jeong. The Ryder Gallery

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Geumhyung Jeong is an interdisciplinary Korean artist with roots in the worlds of theatre, animation and dance. Her arrival onto the contemporary art circuit as we understand it is relatively recent and, in just five years, she has exhibited her work and presented her performances in such places as the TATE Modern and the Delfina Foundation in London, the Kunsthalle in Basel and the Hermès Foundation in Seoul. The themes that Jeong explores in her work resonate perfectly with the hot topics of contemporary art today but she does so from an outsider position that lends her an air of the ‘genuine ingénue’.

Contributing Author: Maira Herrero, 

Maira

 

 

 

 

THE RYDER GEUMHYUNG JEONG SPABEAUTY MADRID 8 OCTUBRE 2019 G1A5629

 Spa & Beauty. Geumhyung Jeong. The Ryder Gallery

 

Geumhyung Jeong is an interdisciplinary Korean artist with roots in the worlds of theatre, animation and dance. Her arrival onto the contemporary art circuit as we understand it is relatively recent and, in just five years, she has exhibited her work and presented her performances in such places as the TATE Modern and the Delfina Foundation in London, the Kunsthalle in Basel and the Hermès Foundation in Seoul. The themes that Jeong explores in her work resonate perfectly with the hot topics of contemporary art today but she does so from an outsider position that lends her an air of the ‘genuine ingénue’.

As an artist focused primarily on performance, her exhibition ‘Spa & Beauty’, happening simultaneously in London and Madrid, is a reflection on this very concept. Whilst the London exhibition presents the idea of performance without her, in Madrid she performs the ‘demonstration’ and installation herself.

 

THE RYDER GEUMHYUNG JEONG SPABEAUTY MADRID 8 OCTUBRE 2019 G1A5708

 Spa & Beauty. Geumhyung Jeong. The Ryder Gallery

 

‘Spa & Beauty’ is a project commissioned by the Tate Modern in which the artist creates a slightly modified spa, perhaps one with that sense of “the uncanny” that Freud talks about. The installation consists of furniture and objects typical of a spa (a bathtub, a massage table, brushes, sponges, …), but Jeong gives it all a twist by including mannequin limbs and teleshopping videos downloaded from the internet that add other levels of meaning and aim to portray a society obsessed with physical appearance and wellbeing. The irony with which she represents the health and beauty industries does not go unnoticed. Defining herself as a collector, the artist presents us with all the objects in her collection, objects that usually come into direct contact with the skin or that allude explicitly to the body. Further to her criticism of the beauty industry, there is also a discourse around the human and the mechanical in her work. Two of the videos that form part of the exhibit reveal the process involved in the production of a brush, one of them handcrafted, the other made by machine.

Jeong defines her ‘Spa & Beauty’ performance as a 'demonstration', a little-used term in the art world, but very revealing in that it describes a performance that seeks to give us a close-up of work in a spa. It has, therefore, something of the theatrical about it in the way it makes us participate in a fiction and accept the 'illusion' of actually being in a spa. In that sense, it might be appropriate here to mention Baudrillard's notion of simulation to describe how the project alludes to a reality familiar to all of us but is in fact one born of simulation.

 

THE RYDER GEUMHYUNG JEONG SPABEAUTY MADRID 8 OCTUBRE 2019 G1A5691

 Spa & Beauty. Geumhyung Jeong. The Ryder Gallery 

 

Geumhyung Jeong is an incredibly versatile artist, each of her projects broaching new themes as she implements different strategies of staging and interpretation. For instance, in her performance piece ‘7 Ways’ at the Tate in 2017, she dazzled with her skill at moving around the 'stage'. She interacted with objects from her collection but, on that occasion, not only did she create the illusion that she was moving the objects but also that they were the ones moving her. In her 2019 ‘RC Toy’ performance at the Kunsthalle in Basel, she created robots to which she attached body parts. The result was creatures, half-man-half-machine, with which she interacted in an overtly sexual way. The remote control activating each robot was located in the erogenous zones of the other robots so that they were all interconnected and activated by her presence in a kind of robotic orgy.

This is a groundbreaking debut from The Ryder Gallery which has just opened its doors in Madrid as part of an ambitious project involving over five years’ work at its headquarters in London.

 

 THE RYDER GEUMHYUNG JEONG SPABEAUTY MADRID 8 OCTUBRE 2019 G1A5725                                                                                                            

(Translated from the Spanish by Shauna Devlin)

 

- Spa & Beauty. Geumhyung Jeong. The Ryder Gallery -                        - Alejandra de Argos -


 
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