Curated by: Sabrina Rastelli, Andrea Viliani
The Donnaregina Foundation for Contemporary Arts and the Museum and Real Bosco di Capodimonte present "Whisper Only to You", the first solo exhibition of the South Korean artist Yeesookyung (Seoul, 1963) in two public institutions Italian, born from an idea by Sylvain Bellenger and Andrea Viliani with Sabrina Rastelli, curated by Sabrina Rastelli and Andrea Viliani for the Madre · Donnaregina contemporary art museum.
Madre hosts some works that belong to the multimedia and multi-material production of the artist. Whisper Only to You (2019), which gives the title to the show itself, is composed by the recording of a performance by Yeesookyung, whose voice-over voice whispers, in Korean, a story without end, while the images show the details of a drawing in cinnabar red - precious pigment of mineral origin, full of symbolic meanings in the East - entitled Flame. As the Buddhist monks concentrate on a single question in their path to enlightenment, in carrying out this overwhelming and disturbing drawing the artist kept asking himself "What is the flame?", While the brush, guided by the mantra, generated almost automatically pictures. Thousand Leaves (2018) is a folding screen flanked by a tree root and its reproduction made with a 3D printer in imitation of wood. The passage of time is crystallized in the old root, whose natural energy is revitalized by the sculpture, the latter being the artificial duplication of the first and the second component of a couple, in a process of regeneration which, combining opposites and differences, tends immortality. The two elements are joined by a screen whose folding doors are covered with white silk of different shades, a metaphor for the myriad of leaves that emerge during a tree's life. In Korea, white is the color of death, but the rebirth follows: the different shades of white therefore allude to the various states of the soul. Bari (2019) is a 3D printed sculpture based on a drawing by the artist depicting Bari, the "Abandoned Princess" who, in Korean mythology, sacrifices herself by marrying the god of the underworld to learn the secret with which she will bring back the parents; is considered the ancestor of shamans. Moonlight Crown (2018-in progress) is a series of sculptures, exhibited in absolute preview, which is inspired by an interview given by the American writer Isaac Bashevis Singer in 1973: “if the truth exists, it is intricate and hidden like a crown of light ". The basis of each of the five works exhibited at the Madre museum consists of a crown that supports a densely decorated sphere, on which a cuspid element is placed. Ubiquitous symbols are incorporated, such as angels, hands in prayer, dragons: if in the past these emblems were perceived as sublime and powerful, and therefore used only in the sacred environment, today their repetitive use has made them easily accessible, emptying them of their transcendent meaning. The decontextualized sacred emblems are arranged here in order to construct an organic structure and reveal the hidden links between past and present, an esthetic myth: the Moonlight Crowns thus become the crowning glory of our individual spirituality. Finally, the acrylic on canvas Past Life Regression Painting_Saint, Making a Crystal Ball with the Impurity of the World (2015) draws inspiration from an experience of regressive hypnosis, thanks to which the artist has tried to make the traces of precedents re-emerge lives imprinted on his subconscious. In these works Yeesookyung personally declines the theme of the transmigration of souls, typical of Eastern thought. The work of the Translated Vase series completes the exhibition path for the Madre, for which the artist is internationally known. The project, inaugurated in 2002 and still in progress, consists of the creation of sculptures and installations obtained by assembling shards, splinters and fragments of works by Korean ceramists specialized in the reproduction of pottery from the Goryeo (918-1392) and Joseon (1392- 1910). In these works emerges a research oriented to the creation of narratives even if only possible but starting from the existing, whether it is an artifact or a reminiscence, in an attempt to restore dignity to the vulnerability of the object and the experience of the individual, between fact and hypothesis, history and narration. The fragmentation of the experience and the attempt to recover it are translated into the restoration of the shattered vase through welding, as of the layer of consciousness through analysis, in a constant tension towards sublime beauty. The exhibition at the Madre museum will be completed with a performance event in the spring of 2020.