Dae Jin Choi
Drawing is the basis
The origin of my research is based on drawing, which I do constantly and spontaneously, trying to capture the character of a moment while also maintaining some kind of freedom in the drawing, without any anxiety about style or form. Drawing for me is like visual writing, like a diary. It’s not intimate, but an artistic practice that allows me to process my work. I am strongly influenced by American minimalist art from the 1960s, as well as by post-minimalist artists whose works are linked to architecture, the body, and public space, such as Bruce Nauman, Vito Acconci, Mike Kelly and Paul McCarthy. But unlike the radical gestures of these artists, I practice and realize my drawings in relation to life. I never simply work in a studio. Working, for me, means to find ways that awaken ideas. The first gesture is situated in an everyday event — in everyday survival. In this spirit, the physical, mental, and even poetical world creates a vision of a hypothetical world. Each geographical area where I have lived has become for me a territory of images and the springboard for a worldview. I admit that the variety of my questions about reality creates contradictions. But I’m not a journalist or a witness or a teacher, just an artist. These images are relevant to my artistic engagement and allow me to unveil a kind of ideal vision of truth as I see it.
Constructng and destructing an image
I search for a non-utopian art and try to highlight artificial and contradictory ideologies. When I was in art school in Paris, I was greatly impressed by Dan Graham’s writings, particularly the two volumes of «Rock My Religion.» In this work, he explains his own art and how a significant part of American music and the New York art scene evolved from the puritanical 19th century America. I also greatly appreciate Gordon Matta-Clark’s architectural gestures, which, ironically, do not really affect the formal question of my work, which deal with monuments, ruins and buildings — even though I consciously do something similar in my work: taking images and ideas and constructing and/or destructing them. These words, construction and deconstruction, by turns, are in perpetual motion in my work. I make connections between bodies and the environment that encircles us. Space itself, in the context of my work, is a passage that acts as a sort of metaphor that can incarnate or reincarnate another image. In my three-dimensional works I appropriate images while keeping their original texture. The practice of embodiment leads me to the crystallization of a visual concept.
The image is the body
Any work dedicated to the life of images ultimately questions the body. That the body should occupy a central place in my work does not implicate its form alone. Often a body has undergone a metaphorical journey via other objects or symbols that have a very stereotypical relationship to it (for example a Coca-Cola bottle), which, in turn, leads me and viewers into a personal artistic engagement.