Nina Hong: Red Feminine Vase (Could Use Some Water)

A Self-Portrait by Others/Berlin

from: 31.05.2017   to: 03.06.2017

Opening: May 31: Doors 6:30pm, Performance 7pm
Visiting Hours: Thurs-Sat 2-7pm, or by appointment

SomoS Artist in Residence from Korea, Nina Hong, presents a mixed media installation and performance as the culmination of her three-month research residency at SomoS.

During these three months, Hong captured various elements of her surroundings, and in particular the stereotypical viewpoints and perspectives that many of us carry around unwittingly. She used informal qualitative sociological instruments to collect data that inform her research-based practice and performative installation.

The next step in her process leads to the transformation and materialization of these collected statements about her public perception and as she calls it the “social gaze”. This results in a poetic reduction and amalgamation of thes stereotypes, portrayals, and statements about her from the casual encounters with strangers and their first impressions, methodologically reminiscent of the tape cutting method of William S. Burroughs. A secondary level of abstraction and layering leads to the interpretation of these comments in a metaphorical manner in the production of her mixed media installation. It is here that the semiotic is indicated as the impressions of the “social gaze” are made manifest in physical objects and painterly abstractions. It is this process that Hong describes as becoming a “vessel” for these recorded impressions of her outward appearance to society: “I feel myself as a transparent bottle, an image collector of modified meaning, containing and mixing all of these images of the boundary between the world and myself.”

A final stage leads Hong to interact with and participate in her own installation in the form of a performance that takes place on the opening night. In a sense, her own participation is a reinforcement of her identity as described by society, but could also be seen as a reworking of or even a reclamation thereof. Her face is consistently obscured, leaving one to question and even distorting the difference between the body, and these particular objects and artworks that have resulted from her inquiry and in this way the lines are blurred between real and metaphor or abstraction.


In her own words:

I have always been interested in how society sees me and how I see society, recognizing my own limitations as having a specific frame, my body. The social implications written in my body as a woman have, at times, overwhelmed me.

Thus I have been working on videos of myself in which I become passive or tried to adapt into conventional situations but ended up being unsuitable. I have also made my self-portrait with symbols of females, as formed by social stereotypes. I wonder what the social implications and gaze exactly are, so I started this work in which I conduct interviews with people I meet, in order to discover this, to know it better.

It is an irony about people that we cannot see ourselves. through this work I could see myself in the mirror of other’s gaze, and other people could see themselves with mirror of my gaze. It becomes refracted through the frame of our thought, the limit of perception of our own body.

I have suffered under the social gaze, but at the same time I am fascinated by all the unrealistic things by the distorted gaze; the exaggerated feminine images accumulated by culture and decorated images of the glitter fakes, etc. The things that I see within the limits of perception of me and the others are recognized of the moment as the most vivid virtuality and reality. I feel myself as a transparent bottle, an image collector of modified meaning, containing and mixing all of these images of the boundary between the world and myself. In my self-portrait work, I am part of world’s images and the world is part of my image. And in this process, the sense of my body completes the self-portrait.

Nina Hong, Artist’s Statement

Nina Hong: Red Feminine Vase (Could Use Some Water)
A Self-Portrait by Others/Berlin

May 31-June 3 2017
Opening: May 31: Doors 6:30pm, Performance 7pm
Visiting Hours: Thurs-Sat 2-7pm, or by appointment