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What to make of large scrap-like pieces of metal strategically placed on the floor? Or a tabletop with a chunk cut out of the corner? These questions come to mind as one searches for appropriate tools to assess Chung Seoyoung’s sculpture and multimedia work. Appropriately enough, such works emphasize the arbitrary and rootless nature of things. Chung also uses elements of the absurd to invest material objects with a sense of ambiguity.

Sculptures like Curb (2013) and Corner Stone (2011)—both featured in “Ability vs. Invisibility,” Chung’s first solo show in New York, at the Tina Kim Gallery—attempt to recalibrate our idea of aesthetics and of what sculpture can be. The cast aluminum Curb reproduces an ordinary slice of daily experience, singling out for attention a prosaic piece of functionality that would normally go unnoticed (except in moments of failure), while Corner Stone, a rough, shapeless blob of cement, playfully fills the gap left by right-angled, architectural order.

These deliberately humble antiforms recast as art owe a considerable debt to Fluxus and its integration of life and art. During her years living in Germany, the Korean-born Chung has developed an acute conceptual edge, moving beyond cultural and other narratives to explore the nature of experience through the most minimal of means. One of the most important artists in the post-Dansaekhwa generation, she continues to push traditional boundaries by disconcerting standardized thought processes and forcing us to consider new ideas in art and life...

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