The solo exhibition Walls to Talk to is the most comprehensive survey to date of the work of Jewyo Rhii (Seoul, 1971) and the first time a European audience has an extensive introduction to her practice. It presents a selection of recent work, alongside a series of site-specific pieces produced during a four-month stay in Eindhoven. Rhii is an artist who has developed a body of work that stems from her sensitive, personal and almost subliminal responses to her immediate environments. Born in Korea, she has displaced herself many times in the last ten years including periods in Western Europe and the USA. These conditions of constant movement form one of the bases of her work.
The exhibition, supported by the Yanghyun Foundation, is accompanied by a catalogue published by Koenig Books, London. Following its presentation at the Van Abbemuseum the exhibition will travel to MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt and Artsonje Center, Seoul.
The exhibition started on 26 January 2013 and builds up to the official opening, which will be on 23 February, together with the opening of the exhibition Open Eye Policy by Sheela Gowda.
In the exhibition at the Van Abbemuseum
, visitors enter a series of different environments and architectural settings, each one telling a particular story from a specific time and place. The drawings, installations or videos that comprise this exhibition were usually produced in a given place or set of circumstances. They have a close relationship to these environments, not so much as a response, but rather simply because of the condition in which Rhii finds herself and as a way to make sense of her relationship to the world. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Night Studio (2010-2011), a series of artworks that were created and shown in a rented apartment in the Itaewon district of Seoul and are exhibited for the first time in this exhibition. Works such as Moving Floor, and her Typewriter series, handmade storytelling devices that print directly on to the wall, have been developed and reconfigured for the exhibition. The works are often assembled out of materials and objects found in her immediate surroundings from plants to plastic sheets or chunks of Styrofoam.
Rhii's sprawling, makeshift sculptures and installations have a homemade feel that recalls elements of arte povera, US women artists of the 1960s such as Eva Hesse as well as appropriation art from the 1990s with their reuse of domestic or familiar elements.
During her four-month stay in Eindhoven, Rhii worked in a studio in Eindhovens creative area Sectie C. Several existing works have been assembled here, but many elements and materials have had to be found in Eindhoven. The exhibition Walls to Talk to therefore is the result of Rhiis time, experiences and relationships with people in the city.