A Diverse Group Show of International Artists Celebrates the UN’s 70 Years
“Totem trees”—free-form organisms—exist harmoniously within their natural habitat and float peacefully throughout the vibrantly colored and fantastical alternate reality that artist Christine Nguyen has created. Composed of four vertical strips, the L.A.-based Vietnamese-American artist’s large scale work, The Invisible Within (2015), illustrates her unique vision of what exists beneath the ocean’s surface and in outer space.
Nguyen’s work is currently on view with paintings, drawings, sculptures, and multimedia pieces by nine other artists from various ethnic backgrounds and different parts of the world, in “Art and the Measure of Liberty: The United Nations Turns 70,” a show organized by Los Angeles’s Baik Gallery, in celebration of the international organization’s 70th anniversary. The diverse exhibition includes work by Gala Porras-Kim, Shizu Saldamando, John Pai, Danielle Dean, Ahmad Zakii Anwar, Tintin Wulia , Lee Wan, Kyung Ryul Park, and Yeesookyung. While they represent a vast spectrum of contemporary artmaking, the artists share in common that their practices resonate with the mission and values of the UN.
The Colombian-American artist Gala Porras-Kim presents National Treasure, 2015, a conceptual work that takes the form of a handwritten list detailing the national treasures of both North and South Korea. The scroll, which measures over 13 feet in length, challenges the notions of borders and celebrates the cultural unity of the two nations, outside of politics.
Translated Vase (2013) is a signature work by Korean artist Yeesookyung, who employs cast-off ceramics, rejects from Korean master ceramists, and reassembles broken shards with epoxy and 24k gold leaf to create entirely new works. The renegade piece presents a kind of alternative vision of culture, tradition, and historical identity by creating a new form with broken pieces of the existing narrative.
Celebrating a segment of the population that is often overlooked, Vulnerable Drawing No. 650 (2015) a work from Korean artist Kyung Ryul Park is a surrealistic painting filled with cartoon-like doodles and sketches. The collage-like collection of fragmented images has grown out of her conversations with elderly Alzheimer’s patients and is inspired by their memories and dreams.
The eight-channel video piece Nous ne notons pas les fleurs Jakarta (2010), from Indonesian, Brisbane-based artist Tintin Wulia, invites the audience to interact with a malleable map of the world composed of flowers. Viewers are able to alter this world map and contemplate the ephemerality of our current political borders.
—Jennifer Baum Lagdameo
“Art Art and the Measure of Liberty: The United Nations Turns 70” is on view at Baik Art in Los Angeles Nov. 15, 2015–Feb. 26, 2016.