"OURS: SELVE PORTRAIT OF A SUICIDAL DRAGONS"
SEPTEMBER 27TH - OCTOBER 24TH, 2019
[wo]man’s trash . . .” rhetoric. Certainly not. Rather his combination of materials that span time and origin is intended to defy a pinpointable time and origin. He dismantles their original contexts to build new ones. These new contexts are often chaotic, disorienting, disconnected. The works resist simplification, or the conventional version of it, which is rooted in language, labels, and category assignments. Embedded with selve-reference and a paradoxically logical-seeming sense of disorder, they challenge the viewer to resist the psychological bias to distill them to a conventional essence, and sometimes they make it near impossible to do so.
Lee says his work isn’t about reuse from an ecological standpoint, but perhaps a practice in which reuse is made so normal that it approaches subliminal could destabilize the waste-ridden, repercussion-blind structures the world seems to enjoy operating within.
[Disclaimer: all instances and variants of the first-person singular pronoun “I” in the following statement have been replaced with the first-persons plural pronoun “we” and its variants.]
About "Ours : Selve Portrait Of A Suicidal Dragons"
Thanks to the nature of our practice, we’re thinking a lot about property—both intellectual and personal. What is ours? Can property be shared? And doesn’t the moment we suggest we own something also enclose it, settle it, put up walls?
We’re thinking the world runs on appropriation, that maybe this isn’t such a terrible thing, that maybe there’s a fine line and we can use it to play jump rope. We’re thinking the world is full of potentially (but not inherently) useful materials, that materials can be stripped from their original contexts to create new worlds, that images exist to be reimagined, that we don’t have to take credit for anything.
We’re thinking about the falsehood of ownership as it applies to self-identity, and especially the sense of self-identity that stems from physical appearance, that stems from self-image. How can we suggest we “own” an image of ourself, when every day we willingly (even if unwittingly) give up the rights to that image by posting it to instagram (when likes are at stake)? Individuation is dead (finally), and the body is not where it’s at. Rather than fight for our rights to body, we can take this dispossession as an invitation to direct our attentions elsewhere, outside the body, outside the illusory “I”.
Writer Kathy Acker, in at least one video interview on youtube, says her forever goal is to increase possibilities. Fred Moten and Stefano Harney, in their book The Undercommons, remind us to refuse the choices as offered. A loose paraphrase of one of the central tenets of the Situationist International goes like this: everything that needs to be said has already been said, waiting to be found and put together in new ways. We want to blur the conventional category assignments and labels such the they lose their meaning and power. We want to create confusion, disorder. We are aware of the limitations of language, but we aren’t afraid to reshape the language to suit our needs, to jaywalk through the language when necessary, which is always.
Worship Gallery presents as its opening art exhibition Ours : Selve Portrait Of A Suicidal Dragons, a [solo] show by New York-based antidisciplinary artist Alex Lee. The opening of Ours . . . on September 6th, 2019, will include a live musical performance between Lee and artist Yoonkee Kim.
Lee’s art practice is grounded on the use of found and recycled materials, which naturally raise questions of value, ownership, authorship, appropriation. These materials—in the case of Ours . . ., sourced entirely during his three-week stay in Seoul—are the spoils of flea markets and side alleys, items discarded as junk or deemed past their expiration dates or, in some cases, overpriced vintage ephemera: the surplus spawn of capitalism. But Lee asserts his work is never an appeal to nostalgia—or worse, to a “one