Young Joon Kwak: Mutant Dreaming
Young Joon Kwak, Musical Beauty Instruments, 2016
Young Joon Kwak, Musical Beauty Instruments, 2016

Excerpt /

“A utopian presence exists within Young Joon Kwak’s work. It’s messy, charged, and fierce. It
echoes José Esteban Muñoz’s poetic refrains about the “not quite here” of queerness, of horizons “imbued with potentiality.” There’s an attempt to summon a feminine and (purposefully Muñozian) queer energy, to fill the space with it, through and beyond the walls of the gallery. In her 2017 exhibition Hermy at Commonwealth and Council, her sculptures seep, ripple, squeeze and generally render surfaces porous. This liminal focus emerged from the exhibition’s attention to the Greek myth of the two-sexed deity Hermaphroditus and the in-between suggested by such bodies. For her Face Wipe series of sculptures, makeup dirties fiberglass cloth hardened by resin, like discarded wipes frozen in time. These delicate pieces pour out of a ceiling vent or float along the wall, as if animated by an unseen force. Stalactite forms cast in aluminum from the interior of Fleshlight sex toys, creating shapes from the negative space of the calculated rendering of an artificial vagina, mushroomed throughout the exhibition, appearing on walls and plinths. One is perhaps embodied by the space, but not in the (Enlightenment-ridden) progressive trope with which we’re so familiar— where the artwork provokes a revelatory experience in the viewer, inviting them to ascent to purity or a “higher” self. Rather, we’re immersed in a churning movement, where the feminine and the queer are not directed here or there, they’re neither this or that, but a rumbling.”

— “Young Joon Kwak: Mutant Dreaming” in CURA. Issue #28, Summer 2018