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The usefulness of art and its role in our contemporary society is always in question.
Nayoungim and Gregory Maass have collected everyday objects such as tiles, bowling balls, ashtrays, and snoopy dolls, signboards of karaoke bars from Europe to Korea, where they live a nomadic life. By reassembling the collected objects of modern civilization, they question the boundaries between function and non-function, objects and objectified objects. In this exhibition The Early Worm Catches the Bird, the artists create their own chimera by appropriating objects that are loaded with connotations, even the exhibition title is borrowed. The exhibition title comes from two albums by Genesis P. Orridge, a 70’s British cult figure.

In the exhibition space, one feels like he/she walking into someone’s storage space of forgotten goods. Calligraphy hangs on the ceiling’s center beam that says the title of the exhibition, The Early Worm Catches the Bird. The main structure that looks like an open mouth of a bug was made by benches that were used in a German theater. The teeth of the “bug” sparkle with jeweled ornaments. In one corner of the gallery, one can see two wooden radiator covers: an old neon sign is lit within one, the other one is hung on the wall with a beaded towel hanging from it. A chandelier, which reaches to the floor, was made up of German mailboxes and generic warm hued light bulbs and was hung by wooden stems from old standing lamps. In the hidden room, a Visa Card sandwich board can be found where the artists hung socks on a mini clothesline. The drawings, which Gregory Maass drew 14 years ago, are the abstracted mappings and instructions on how to assemble installations.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Duchamp criticized the tradition of retinal arts; in retaliation he created ready-mades that experimented with linguistic and visual relationships of matter. Nayoungim and Gregory Maass call their works of art, which they coined, ‘handmade ready-made’ a paradox onto itself and humour is a common thread throughout their work. They transform the signified through straightforward parody and create new aesthetic.
In their previous works, they illuminate their interest on function of ‘no function’ such as Double Happiness Ping Pong (2005) where they turned generic tables into dysfunctional Ping-Pong tables, and Sunlight Collector (2005), their useless solar panel where they only kept the architectural construction of it. Their pieces challenge the viewer’s general associations to the everyday objects; in doing so, Nayoungim and Gregory Maass recreate new imaginative perceptions for these general objects where it’s about the aesthetics. The artists say their interest in ‘no function’ is influenced by minimalism.
This exhibition does not exist as individual works of art; the exhibition space is an organic platform where drawings, furniture, artworks, and everyday objects form an interesting juxtaposition where function and aesthetic qualities are questioned.
By Ji Yoon Yang / Curator
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