Comfort (diptych)

Comfort (diptych) (2021)

40" x 110" x 40" (each piece)

Stainless steel, mild steel, metal hardware, tape

In middle school, I coveted the universally "given" status of a "pen" -- its name, identity and utility were never subject to taunting or question; among both losers and winners, it was an unequivocally valid thing that circulated without obstruction. As a Korean immigrant in America, my idiosyncratic catalog or dictionary of the American generic held for me a similar promise of belonging, comfort and deliverance, as did the idea that cultures could be distinguished through their generic objects. (The demarcation meant there were clear and stable worlds to which I could belong and travel between.)

 

Here, I articulate Audre Lorde's erotic and Roland Barthes' Neutral through culturally generic (Korean and American) spoons, as a proposal to myself of sustainable belonging, comfort and liberation. Alternately solid and airy, rigid and elastic, cool and warm, the hammocks spoon the human spine, evoking the erotic, and express subtle differences within and between them, evoking the Neutral. Through repetition and parallelism, difference is at once cradled or held and vacated or lost; the comfort of resting in an ordered form is agitated by the sharp fragility and hardness of the wires and spoons. For me, belonging and liberation may lie -- if only as crafted fantasy -- in a shimmering space of the Neutral these oscillating dynamics evoke.

Detail views (click to enlarge):