Eleonora Reffo: This “Studio Visit” format aims to investigate the poetics of artists in relation to their production space. You’ve lived between South Korea, Australia, New York. How has your biography been critical to your artistic research and your relationship to a possible work space?
Hyun Cho: I feel lucky to be able to operate internationally. I never wanted to own any specific culture. I’ve never wanted to belong any culture. Instead, I want my works to reflect that mixed experience. It’s been a dynamic journey. It’s challenging to manage working in new environments but this is critical to my practice.
E.R.: The texts you integrate to your sculptural and installation practice does not have autobiographical or emotional origins. What intention lies behind them?
H.C: I wouldn’t say that my work do not reflect an autobiographical element, but addressing my biographical experiences with immediate emotional reactions through words is not a priority in my text-based works. Some of my phrases, for example, “Up To 200% Off”, “Ask My Daddy”, “Hardcore Conceptual Lover”, “Crucial Babe No.1” are reflections of my interest on the nature of language and the idea of appropriation in popular music — specifically Rock & Roll. I remix the stylistic characteristics of Rock lyrics with a Pop sensibility, which I have a lot of love for. I want my phrases to resemble rock song lyrics. That is why my phrases are short, repeatable and playful. I attempt to reassemble objects to divorce them from the orthodoxy of meaning which has been previously assigned to them. This is how I redefine a new meaning.
E.R.: Your experience at Viafarini has recently ended. How has the opportunity to work alongside other artists by sharing the same work space affected you?
H.C: I’ve been so lucky to make discoveries at Viafarini in this pandemic. I especially enjoyed talking with artists who write and make videos. It was stimulating. At the end of residency I become more sure to use a video in my own work. I’m very excited for my upcoming video project.
E.R.: Where does your interest in skateboarding come from?
H.C: It comes from my huge infatuation when I saw skaters riding around the busy streets in New York City. The energies from that freedom were strong. Ever since then, I became a fan of street skating. I like the way they skate: using urban public spaces and street furnitures such as stairs, railings, bollards. Any objects on the streets can be creative tools for skating. I love that free style of skateboarding: spontaneous, deviate, fast, risky and fun.
E.R.: How did your production change (if at all) during the lockdown period?
H.C: I have always wanted to work with ready-made objects. During the lockdown I wanted to broaden my perspective and work with more different materials. I started playing with resins and color pigments. I was so drawn to the qualities I can create by mixing these two materials. Through this experimentation I seek to find the most captivating qualities of these materials.
E.R.: You told me about your wide adherence to initiatives such as artist residencies. What role do artist residencies play in your professional growth?
H.C: For me it’s all about stepping outside my comfort zone and experiencing the world through my own lens.
Hyun Cho, born in 1982, lives and works between New York and South Korea, her homeland. She obtained a BA Degree in Painting at T University of Sydney. Her last exhibition was “Risky Hardware” with the artist Nicolò Masiero Sgrinzatto curated by Riccardo Lisi in the newly space of the Galleria Ramo in Como. Her latest experiences include a residency at the Archivio Viafarini in Milan and the participation in the VIR – May – July 2021 programme.
Hyun Cho, Ask My Daddy #2, resin, colour pigment, T-shirt, aluminium hanger, 70 x 56.5 x 2 cm, 2021. Photo courtesy of the artist
Hyun Cho, Cliff, LEDs, Reflective safety tape, aluminium profile, acrylic, skateboard wheel, spray paint, hardware, 65.5 x 33 x 3 cm, 2020. Photo courtesy of the artist
Hyun Cho, Two Runners, color changing LEDs, refective safety tape, aluminum, pipe, skateboard part, house paint, magnet, hardware, 48 x 60 x 18cm, 2021. Photo courtesy of the artist
In 2019 she obtained a BA Degree in Painting and Visual Arts at NABA (Milan), where she is finishing her MA degree in Visual Arts and Curatorial Studies. Since last years she has been collaborating with cultural realities outside the major centres. As curator she is involved in the realization of multidisciplinary projects aimed at heterogeneous audiences.