Feb 20 | If I cannot bend, I will move | Snehta Residency

February 20, 2019


If I cannot bend, I will move


In a state of perpetual fragmentation, never bounded nor complete, we hold on to our senses. Bringing together the works of Elísabet Birta Sveinsdóttir and Jae Youl Jeoung developed over their two-month residency in Athens, this exhibition unfolds as an overwrapping story for the ever-changing ways we traverse the Athenian landscape, through our minds and our senses. The aesthetics of the city with its symbols, primordial images and patterned thoughts serve as a backdrop for a dig into a series of inborn tendencies. The title of the show references Virgil’s seminal line “Flectere si nequeo superos, Acheronta movebo” (“If I cannot bend the Higher Powers, I will move the Infernal Regions.”, Aeneid,
VII, 312) that Freud also chose as the epigraph for his treatise on The Interpretation of Dreams, in a way picturing our ongoing effort to move while unearthing and confronting our repressed instinctual impulses.

Interested in the relationship between subject and object, Jae Youl Jeoung’s artistic practice is comprised of sculptural elements that altogether evoke an imperceptible yet affective experience accessed through the interrelations amongst earthy objects and small-scale paintings. Disparate elements that give the form to a single poem. At times grounded and on others seemingly floating within the space they inhabit Jeoung’s works are an exploration into the different positions of the vertical and the horizontal exerted by the gravitational force that makes things keep standing. In his new work “Flesh and Stone” solid yet fragile forms, susceptible to natural phenomena and subjected to their encounter with the human body, are scattered in small assemblages that are seemingly rooted and yet still rise one by one, somehow dividing the space into territories without boundaries. Walking around something we can never get to the center of, like scavengers of discarded odds, we look for the clues of our material memories constantly zooming in and out of our temporal and spatial self. Ideas of visibility and invisibility, the stillness of time, the notion of the empty space and its reflective potential, emerge to remind us how to look more carefully in the spaces that lie in-between. The story unfolds with the falling seed that piles up and gradually disappears amongst the ruins of the inner and outer spaces from which our personal and collective consciousness is constantly casted.

The objectification of the human body, the new hybrid state of being, the gaze of the other, as well as the notion of feminine archetypes are recurrent themes that appear in Elísabet Birta Sveinsdóttir’s performances and video installations. Through the use of mediation devices and technical framing that become the material structure and an integral element o