Inadvertent naturalistic calligraphic tendencies of literati colour-field non-figuration whose outcomes exemplify not the expression of the individual or its cult but serve the collective documentation, curation and advancement of ascetic-arts knowledge.

"Inside, Outside and Interside" by Lee Soo Hong (Nature Borne sculpture show, Singapore Botanic Gardens)

Might a work of art simply be the refusal to make sense? The liaison between art and play is confirmed. When ripping a tree trunk, what is lost of the circumference but the width of the saw blade? But how many cuts in the horizontal slicing? The piece is then hollowed and the wood of its innards stands to the side as a fabricated long-cut 1 x 3(?) inch stack of sticks transformed into a kind of rectangular nailed-together lattice assemblage, an exposed "black box" (figuratively speaking). What's it for? However, offered no prefabricated model or theory, we're reduced to mental fiddling with less inner purpose. I found it somewhat of an extravagant experiment, but very well worth the performative effort. And in any case, why should an artist be held responsible for the social cost of his private research? But in this way, defending the work's incomprehensibility approaches a kind of admission of love: that they would take it all apart in attempt to understand it! How is one to love something tragically broken?

Is art a perception founded on a premise of the mindlessness of everyday things? I don't think so. One derives from such expansive and adventurous works a vital spirit that is very much akin to what Confucius had to say with regard to "The Creative": that 'things with affinity in their inmost natures seek one another and reverberate the penetrating wind (the breath of earth) romps with the tiger,' i.e. to scatter clouds and brighten emotions and render sentiments clear and serene. For the spectacle of the tenuous and vague contiguity of the inscrutable metamorphosis of meaningless things enlivens people's spirit. How sad were such beautiful play to vanish.

Korean sculptor Lee Soo Hong's unassuming work titled "Inside, Outside and Interside", is a gently penetrating conceptual masterpiece remarkably assessable to lay art viewers – and children too. It was the most appealing item in the Nature Borne show for me. But pardon me for not having snapped some photos (or taken my tape measure). Hurry go see!

"Inside, Outside and Interside", 1997, wood (elm tree) sculpture in two pieces (40 x 160 x 80cm) by Korean artist Lee Soo Hong. "Nature Borne" - A Singapore and Korea Joint Sculpture Exhibition, Singapore Botanic Gardens, on through 27 Dec 2009.

Additional reference: René Thom, At the Boundaries of Man's Power: Play, in SubStance, Vol. 8, No. 4, Issue 25, (1980): 11-19.

No comments: