OK Seungcheol ≪Spirals, Loops, Mutants≫
June 8 – July 16, 2023
K11 Shanghai
OK Seungcheol participated in a group show, Spirals, Loops, Mutants, at K11 Shanghai, from June 8 to July 16.
옥승철 작가는 K11 상해에서 진행하는 단체전 ≪Spirals, Loops, Mutants≫에 참여합니다. 전시는 6월 8일부터 7월 16일까지 진행됩니다.

Spirals, Loops, Mutants
June 8 – July 16, 2023
K11 Shanghai

Participating Artists
OK Seungcheol
Amba Sayal-Bennett
Li Ming × Zhu Changquan
Spirals, Loops, Mutants
The exhibition Spirals, Loops, Mutants brings together works by Li Ming, OK Seungcheol, Amba Sayal-Bennett and Zhu Changquan to imagine visual and conceptual mutations prompted by processes of repetition. In Recursivity and Contingency (2019), philosopher Yuk Hui describes ‘recursivity’ as that which characterizes contemporary human-machine relations. Unlike mechanical repetitions of the past, this downward spiral motion repeats by absorbing contingency. In responding to unexpected, uncalculated events, the technology/machine enriches its system and grows like an organism. In computer programming, ‘recursion’ connotes a movement, which returns to itself in order to determine itself. Seen in this way, the mode of looping not only refers to the iterative processes of transformation, but also engages with the issue of self-definition.

Questioning what it means to repeat, whether in terms of methodology, subject matter, or medium, each artist reflects on the mode and the practice of art making. While Li Ming performs the processes of infinite looping in the form of a game he devised with his collaborator Zhu Changquan, OK Seungcheol’s anonymous, unnamed figures generated from an ever-changing combination of images culled from films, drama, animation, and online memes recur in his paintings and sculptures. Through the doubling of forms and performative dynamics of (non)human assemblages, Amba Sayal-Bennett’s intricate drawings and sculptures consider how industrial and machinic repetition can lead to permutations. The various examples of human-material engagement and feedback enacted by each artist offer insight into their distinctive modes of interaction with their respective surroundings, whether virtual or real. More broadly, the works invite the viewers to reflect on the power of recurrence as a concept and a force, which embraces chances, modifications, and mutations.    

Amba Sayal-Bennett (b. 1991, Lives and works in London) 
Amba Sayal-Bennett is an artist of British-Indian heritage working across drawing, projection, and sculptural installation. Her practice explores how methods of abstraction are exclusionary and performative, crafting boundaries between what is present, manifestly absent, and othered. Her research focuses on the migration of rational forms and their role within architecture. Using translation as method, she explores the movement of bodies, knowledge and form across different sites, processes inherent to the diasporic experience.
The drawings and sculptures exhibited at K11 explore doubling of forms and performative dynamics of (non)human assemblages. Through them, Sayal-Bennett imagines infinite variations and incompleteness generated by repetition, or recursivity. The flatness of metal sheets structuring the sculptures establishes a strong relationship to paper and echo the language of prototyping and modeling explored in the artist’s drawings. As the sheet material is bent, folded, welded and slotted, it moves between two and three dimensions. Such fluidity can be also found in Sayal-Bennett’s human-technological approach to art. As she explains, “Whether I’m using stencils in my drawings on paper, or computer modeling software to design my sculptural works, my body is always working in conjunction with material or technological apparatus. I’m interested in how these tools, rather than being passive, have agency within the work. I’ve come to think of my practice as a cybernetic system that evolves through a process of human-material engagement and feedback.”

OK Seungcheol (b. 1988, Lives and works in Seoul) 
OK Seungcheol works across the digital and the analog realms, through which he visualizes ever-changing digital information. Drawing inspirations from sources as diverse as Japanese manga and online memes to dictatorial statues and religious relics, OK visualizes and materializes different modes of transformations, transitions, and translations that occur in our everyday life. He typically achieves this by employing anonymous, unnamed, yet recurring character-figures.
Through the process of storing and editing found images by using digital tools such as Adobe Illustrator, OK extracts what he considers “the core of the images” and mutates them into figurative 3D models or paintings. He then employs extreme close-ups to remove information such as the background or body, so that the depicted figure can be abstracted enough to resist essentialized or singular interpretation. OK’s characters are therefore extremely familiar, yet remain unidentifiable. Similarly, the characters reveal explosive emotions, yet they remain out of context. The artist often likens his method of production to digital printing for its ability to generate endless copies, but what may appear as easily consumable images are the result of labor-intensive painting. His sculptures, on the other hand, demonstrate OK’s ongoing experiment with traditional sculpting techniques and 3D printing technology.

Li Ming (b. 1986, Lives and works in Hangzhou);
Zhu Changquan (b. 1989, Lives and works in Hangzhou and Shanghai)

Engaging across video, performance, installation and photography, Li Ming has delved into artistic motive and creative control, exposing our individual and shared experiences. In a series of collaborations with Zhu Changquan, the two investigate the liminal space between object and meaning, frolicking through mimicry, response and repetitive gesture.

In 27 Scenes M, Li and Zhu work in concert to experiment with painting, simultaneously expanding the process into the video presented. This experiment fashions a symbiotic teaching relationship in which both respond to each other’s creations through copying and reflective interpretation. In this work, it is Zhu who paints with green paint upon a green wall, while Li copies to a small green canvas, visible in the foreground in the same frame. In a cycle of painting, copying, reflecting and continued creation, the two are silent as their brushstrokes gain and lose visibility and they pass in and out of the viewer’s sight. The effect is compounded as the fresh green paint dries into the wall and canvas respectively, thus the individualistic gesture fades from view. The color of green exactly replicates that of green screens found in the film industry, reflecting the infinite potential of the wall and the canvas to serve as a palette for other images, real or imagined.  In the corresponding work 27 Scenes Z, the artists’ roles are reversed and the experience is mirrored.
The other video and painting works on view by the artists stem from this same reciprocal impulse and analysis of daily actions and reactions. The replication of the mundane to a level verging on comedy reveals the true nature of a certain type of looped existence – something revealed to be absurd.