[March 20 2018]
JOEUN AATCHIM presented a special group exhibition entitled, “Secondary Inspection Room aka the Backroom” at the SPRING/BREAK Art Show in New York City. The exhibition, described as a “installation/essay project”, is a collection of work by artists Mo Kong, EJ EunJung Park, Leonard Suryajaya, Zhiyuan Yang, and the artist herself. The installation was inspired by the inspection/processing room at John F. Kennedy Airport— all too familiar for immigrants to the United States. The tasteless carpet accents isolate the space from the rest of the art show programming setting an unusual tone in an otherwise crowded art fair atmosphere. Throughout the space, a banal wash of desaturated lavender Benjamin Moore AF-620 paint (ironically known as ‘Sanctuary’) covered the wall—intentional decisions made by Aatchim to communicate the bleak, unnerving nightmare of U.S. bureaucracy.
The overall theme of the group exhibition seems to be much about a search for belonging and compulsory prerequisites that result in that pursuit. A notable Leonard Suryajaya “American Anthem” four-channel video installation screens various children singing grotesquely wearing dental cheek retractors almost as a showcase of the kinds of forceful indoctrination of American nationalism immigrant children face upon arriving to the United States. The Joeun Aatchim “Draft: Sans Self” work is a site-specific installation using references reminiscent of English language books with illustrations that represent the suppressed anxieties and frustrations of the Inspection room. Joeun Aatchim gives a relentless look into the demoralizing process of immigration, acclimation, and assimilation in “Secondary Inspection Room aka the Backroom”.
Text Jason Wong, photo Johnny Le