Down the alleys of the quickly gentrifying neighborhood west of Gueongbokgung Palace are art museums and art spaces. One such is Sarubiadabang (사루비아다방), located in a cool subterranean location.
The steps going down are steep. Halfway down we are greeted by a single wooden creature, gazing at us with a large solitary lense atop a long spindly neck. It invites us to descend further into the encroaching darkness into Myopia, Jürgen Dünhofen’s latest project.
The darkness covers everything. Your eyes need to adjust a bit, but lights are used for ambiance and highlighting. The space is not a void, but a kind of womb for an experience. Overhead you notice a light source is also backlighting for a pen drawing. They call you to come play.
But just before we can see the art space, a wall of words greet us. Not the words of the artist (though those are present as well), but of others who have visit before you. Questions and comments on a chalk board.
The basement gave way to a dreamscape of grass populated by wooden creatures akin to the one that greeted us on the descent. My initial impression was that of a playground filled with children playing gather wing and seeing. While there are common themes with the creatures, each one has its own unique take. Most have a single round lense like an eye, but a few have multiple lenses or different shaped lenses. This is fun for the observer as it invites us to try to look through their eyes.
Again, most are three legged, save for the ‘overseer’, the tallest piece with a large lense and a good view of the whole premises.
But for me the focus was the center where the only direct light was pointing. Three friends (because how can I resist using human relationship terms when they feel so human) are surrounding this central location.
But then a realization came to me. Which way are these friends looking? Which way are any of these pieces looking? Initially I assumed they looked inward. It seemed natural for us to look in and down as if investigating and sharing our gazes.
But just as plausible, these creatures could be looking away or up. Seeing beyond the walls of the basement or into the inky blackness of their skies, wondering when this perpetual eclipse will end.
The lenses present another idea to me in relation to the title of the exhibit. Each creature has its own focus, its own thing it cares about. These become their lives and loves. They exist in frozen myopi, incapable of seeing the broader picture.
The overseer, focused on the little creatures in the spot light, will not notice what is around the corner.
The resulting dialogue can been seen here:
If you wish to see this space for yourself, you’d better run. The experience ends April 30th.
Project Space Sarubiadabang
서울 종로구 자하문로 16길 4 지하 (창성동)
The basement of 4 Jahamun-ro 16 gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul