The work of Hyang Cho and K. Nicol offers a view into contemporary art practices in Canada. This exhibition looks at their recent works in the context of conceptual, “post conceptual” and systemic practices. An international perspective is provided by the inclusion of a 1968 “unique” multiple work by Joseph Beuys (German 1921-1986), an artist most-often associated with the Fluxus movement.
Although coming from very different cultural backgrounds, the studio practices of Cho and Nicol are characterized by notional and self-reflexive organizing and ordering systems that draw cues from the everyday, examining and selecting readymade elements, and raiding philosophy. They express time implicitly and explicitly through a disciplined performative dimension. The outcomes may be described as “obsessive”—or, as conveyed in the exhibition subtitle, “predisposed to …”—but they also share an idea with Beuys, to “function as carriers for complex ideas [as much] as their capacity to release a communicative impulse between artists and viewer.”1
If the formative period of conceptual and radical art in the mid-to-late 1960s was an anti-authoritarian attitude and a “dematerialization” of art as object, how does this relate to a climate of retinal consumption today, and social media that encourages unfiltered and promiscuous chatter about anything or nothing—yet done “because you can.”
The exhibition, therefore, poses questions rather than (at best) slippery and problematic definitions.
Hyang Cho was born in South Korea. She first studied at Sogang University in Seoul; received her MFA from the University of Guelph, and is based in Guelph.
K. Nicol grew up in Ancaster Ontario. He studied at Sheridan College and the Ontario College of Art and Design, and is based in Toronto.
This is the first exhibition for both in a public museum; a catalogue will be available during the course of the exhibition. Hyang Cho works courtesy of the artist and Georgia Scherman Projects. K. Nicol works courtesy of the artist, MKG127, and Micah Lexier.
1. Benjamin Dodenhoff from Joseph Beuys: Parallel Processes