“Interplay” is an exhibition exploring many tangential processes as an expression of the reaction to a specific series of spaces (in this case, the galleries of MMCA.) The exhibition was vibrant, playful but at times meditative.
The first works one encounters upon entering are “avaf installation” created by the artist group known as avaf. They refer to themselves as “homo virus sapiens” and speak about their own personal contagiousness, and this shows through the forms that cover every surface. What was once a white gallery becomes transformed by print, video, and light into an untamed jungle built up of our own social awareness of mainstream visual representation. The overwhelming visuals simultaneously transported you and enclosed you into their foreign space.
Down the stairs is a kinetic light installation by Ross Manning called “Spectra.” I’ll be honest, ever since seeing the work of Olafur Eliasson, I have been deeply in love with light as a medium to transform and distort spaces and our perceptions of them. Ross Manning’s piece talks about additive and reductive color spectrums, while the lights in motion (powered by fans) blend to every possible color combination. The colors and silent spinning movements created an environment that was quiet and reflective.
Jinnie Seo’s installation “Wandering Still” is a physical reinterpretation of the traditional Korean ideological landscape (inspired by Kang Hui’an’s 15th century representations of mountains and rocks grasping at clouds) and of a poem by Heo Nanseolheon, a 16th century female poet and artist. Using only Hanji, she recreated the sensation of painted rocks and mountains reaching to undulating cloud-forms, with only a small path carved out for the viewer. The Hanji was intended to contribute an additional olfactory element to the piece, however I was not able to notice this.
Shinji Ohmaki’s work “Liminal Air –Descent-“ resonated with me most strongly. The installation, created by tying shoe strings in traditional Japanese knots on a curving surface, represents the moment when air descends as clouds are about to dissipate. The space he creates is quiet and meditative, as he created a literal representation of the sky for the viewer to walk through. However, I did not react to this piece for any of those reasons. Walking through what seems like a never-ending cascade of shoe strings (which in such a quantity feel heavy) I felt nothing but sheer terror and anxiety at the prospect of venturing through a space I found suffocating only to hit a wall or go on indefinitely. When the space opened up to a lighted panel, I was immediately relieved of this tension and found a soothing and still place. Upon having to exit the installation though, I immediately felt this same terror (despite knowing it was completely unfounded) and found myself rushing to exit. It was an incredible piece, but it left me with a profoundly haunting sensation.
Overall the exhibition was interesting for its level of viewer interaction and site specificity. It’s a series of installations that cannot exist in the same form elsewhere, but provided a satisfying level of sensory stimulation. Interplay runs from April 14 to August 23, so when looking for an excuse to escape the summer heat, be sure to drop by MMCA to see this show. More details here.