As the saying goes, the only certainty in life is uncertainty.
It’s a concept that’s long fascinated Kelvin Kyung Kun Park. At his recently unveiled solo exhibition, Double Mirror, on display now as part of the Shanghai Glass Museum’s “Annealing” project, the Korean artist presents brand-new works that examine the theme of uncertainty in the context of identity, perception, and transformation.
For those familiar with Park’s past work, it might seem strange to see an artist best known for his directorial work at the Shanghai Museum of Glass, but this is precisely the point of “Annealing”: by inviting artists from different backgrounds, Lise Li, the project’s art director, hopes to push both the medium of glass and the artists’ creativity to their limits. She believes that this friction yields the best types of art, and Park’s stunning contributions this year validate this philosophy.
The first work in the show is a video art installation that plays to Park’s strengths as a director. Lacking dialogue, the film shows a pair of identical twins wandering through a labyrinth of mirrors. As they make their way through, they find themselves captivated by their own reflections, but the intensity with which they’re studying themselves in the mirror is unsettling—it’s almost as if they don’t recognize the person standing before them.
By making it unclear on whether the camera is trained on the characters themselves or their reflections, Park conveys the characters’ own sense of uncertainty. The ultra-wide aspect ratio, used purposefully to limit the audience’s field of view, heightens this feeling to anxiety-inducing levels. The discomfort that courses through the film’s 12-minute runtime poses a simple question, “How can we be sure that the person we see in the mirror is our true self?”
其实，就连摄像镜头也没办法确定拍摄到的是否是真实的人物还是镜像，朴庆根通过这部作品传达出了视频中人物自身的不确定感。超宽的影像，将观众的视野限定在视频中，让人们的焦虑感上升。整个影片共 12 分钟，其带来的不安氛围仿佛向我们提出了一个简单的问题，“我们怎么知道镜中自己就是我们本人？”
In the second part of Park’s exhibition, he gives physicality to the notion of uncertainty through a series of glass-and-steel sculptures that represent the inconstancy of human nature. On each work, triangular panes of glass affixed to a steel column and powered by servomotors that change their position over time. As they rotate and flip into different configurations, they reflect new geometric patterns of light across the ceiling and walls. The sculptures’ subtle changes and their effect on the surrounding room speak to a number of ideas: though we may not notice it, we’re always changing as individuals, and these changes directly influence the world around us—or at least our perception of it.
Through this multimedia exhibition, Park aims to alleviate our collective fear of change and uncertainty: once we recognize and accept that change is inevitable, we can stop worrying about things out of our control and fully appreciate the present.
Aside from Kelvin Kyung Kun Park, Chinese artist Sun Xun is also holding a separate solo exhibition, Frontier Part II, as part of this year’s “Annealing” project. Both are now on display at the Shanghai Glass Museum of Art until March 29th, 2020. Tickets are available online at Maoyan and Damai.
Double Mirror & Frontier Part II
November 5th, 2019 ~ March 29th, 2020
Tuesday ~ Friday, 1 pm ~ 5 pm
Weekend & Holidays, 11 am ~ 5 pm
Shanghai Museum of Glass Park
685 Changjiang West Road
Baoshan District, Shanghai
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Contributor: David Yen
Chinese Translation: Pete Zhang
Images Courtesy of the Shanghai Museum of Glass