From June 2 to 23, Gallery BK Hannam will hold Maze Solving Algorithm, a three-person exhibition presenting Eunyoung Song, Hyunjoo Chang, and Sera Jeong. In this exhibition, the three artists use their works to present nonexistent, ambiguous, indeterminate landscapes and meticulously collected images. Inspired by a fervent, explorative spirit, they demolish the boundary between existence and fictionality, gather fragmented clues from the insolvable reality facing each of them, and seek rational answers.
The maze solving algorithm is the process of finding the “way out” of a given maze as fast as possible using the shortest possible path. One such algorithm is the wall follower, a solution consisting of two rules, the right-hand rule, and the left-hand rule. The process is simple: one places one’s hand on either the right or the left wall and traces the wall until the maze ends. The wall follower algorithm has a low burden on memory because there is no need to memorize information on which path was traveled already, but it cannot solve mazes that include a loop. Especially if the given maze is designed to be part of a larger rectangle, the algorithm can never exit the maze, thus becoming a real-life case of the Greek Labyrinth. By nature, human beings find it difficult to survive in a complex, multi-level environment that amplifies confusion. And in such circuits, the individual is bound to circle around the same path unless he is using a “marking” system and makes the same mistake two to three times and regrets each time, a process similar to the events we encounter and undergo in real life.
Progress without order, results that are unforeseeable, coincidence and discontinuity, existence and fictionality — the scenery of this city envelops us just as if we were standing in the center of a maze and stimulates us at a blazing pace every day (and with a different approach each day). Sera Jeong expresses this unresolved, undistilled stimulant as the hazy, shimmering landscapes of a lone city, allowing the viewer’s mind to reflect upon the desolate, distorted scenery and the renderings of ambiguous images. The self gains the ability to instruct his environment through experience. The French ideologist Jean-Paul Sartre (1905–1980) viewed the self as a transcendental being and wrote that an independent solipsist conscience, sooner or later, becomes an isolated being. It is only human nature to attempt to iron out one’s life and world free of wrinkles and creases, but often, there will be missing pieces, and the holes created by them leave one’s isolated self and conscience open to exposure. We, the viewers, are trapped in the maze that is reality and unable to find our way out, and Jeong takes advantage of our circumstances and pulls us into her images.
Standing in the middle of a gray cityscape with their backs turned to the viewer, a group of faceless and emotionless masses fill the entire canvas. As if one has been erasing the redundant brushmarks made while unconscious, various colors competitively form layers and merge realms entirely different from each other — Hyunjoo Chang examines her canvas for traces of undisciplined marks that rose to the surface unconsciously and erases her past mistakes by applying layers of colors. Chang’s practice consists of repeating this cycle, whereby she makes her own marking which consoles the colorless, downcast masses of people and presents a new answer. Logotherapy, the third school of psychotherapy following the psychoanalysis of the Austrian psychologist and physician Sigmund Freud (1856–1939) and the individual psychology of Alfred Adler (1870–1937), is a treatment scheme that instructs the patient to not be attached or be frightened of past memories and trauma and encourages him to believe that a hopeful future will come and live a full, committed life. Based on the principles of logotherapy, Chang recognizes men’s strong attachment to past experiences and uses her paintings to spur her viewer to pursue their ultimate goals instead.
Two-dimensional space, spaces that are believed to exist but obstructed from sight (i.e., the space behind a door or wall), and the actual, existing gap between two canvases: the boundaries between these three spaces collapse at the spot where multiple layers superimpose and juxtapose, which is also the point where Eunyoung Song collapses the relationships between everyday-life images, reality, and unobservable space. The protagonists in her painting seem to move restlessly in search of something, and all of a sudden, their nearby ambiance swathes them in an unreal fashion, causing sudden severance and outlandish illusion. Song’s “indeterminate landscape,” simple yet dual and concrete yet malleable, allows viewers to visually experience the state where the past, present, and future form harmony and balance.
The multilayered landscape is reminiscent of an entangled midsummer night’s dream, and the protagonists concealing their intentions solicit visitors to walk into the painting and submerge into a session of deep introspection. Often, a given problem is dealt with by prescribing a “panacea,” a set of identical or near-identical solutions. In contrast, the “answer” is the act of explicating a problem or question and its solution and allows multiple approaches, alternatives, and choices, distinct from what a panacea presents. Moving past the irresolvable Labyrinth of the myths, the three artists encourage each visitor to find his unique “way out” from the mazes in his reality, and we hope this occasion provides the time and space for exploring the three different “answers” presented by each of them.
Min Choi, Director, Gallery BK