Youngeun Sohn (KR)

Each day at Jan van Eyck, Youngeun Sohn perches by the window of her ground floor studio and looks out onto the sidewalk. Typewriter poised on the windowsill, she spends a few moments registering what she sees. People peer in and out of windows almost unwittingly. At other times windows function as mirrors. They invite gazes and glances that are both penetrative and reflective. Sohn draws her attention to this inadvertent, incidental gaze and the possibility to rethink gestures so familiar they often go unnoticed and unquestioned. 

Sohn envisions life as a continuous performance. Part of her practice is to isolate and draw out quotidian actions or rituals, from folding napkins to serving drinks at a bar. At the Jan van Eyck, she meditatively washed the institution’s windows. Through the simple act of cleaning, she brings attention to the glass surface and its presumptive transparency. Much of her work is fleeting. Sohn’s interventions, which she films or invites viewers to experience via live streaming, are like an interlocking of gazes. Through concerted performative exercises, she makes herself and her gesture temporarily visible, revealing briefly some connection between herself and an object or a social relationship. The power of her work resides in the possibility of this momentary encounter.

Text written by Amanda Sarroff



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