Christopher K. HO | ET IN ARCADIA EGO

Opening Saturday June 20th, 2009


June 20th to October 5th, 2009

Image|EDS| GALERIA is pleased to present Christopher K. Ho’s first solo exhibition at the gallery. Et in Arcadia Ego features four landscape-oriented works of diverse media, processes, and materials.

 

The Sight of Death, 2009, is a chine-collé print featuring juxtaposed mountains centered on an expanse of off-white mould-made paper, each cropped from a landscape by Nicolas Poussin, whose 1638 painting Et in Arcadia Ego provides the exhibition’s name. Loosely translated “Even in Arcadia, there is Death,” the reference reflects Ho’s continued interest in exploring the parameters and possibilities of engaged art. In Arcadia, idealism resides in an irretrievable past, not a flawless future; and the atmosphere is infused with human pathos rather than steeped in political promise. The exhibition—which strives to be sympathetic, non-judgmental, and metaphorical—considers such a frame the guidepost for making art in an uncertain age.
The paintings from the series The Pasture, 2009, faintly depict 4 x 6-inch pastoral landscapes by 18th-century painter Thomas Gainsborough on 6 x 8-inch boards primed with traditional gesso. Instead of paint, the medium is the facial moisturizer Advanced Marine Biology Night Solution by Swiss skincare company La Prairie, which developed and built a proprietary above ground aquaculture that mimes the conditions of the deep ocean in order to harvest free-radical-fighting botanicals. If Gainsborough depicted the British countryside on the eve of the Agrarian Revolution, The Pasture captures landscapes after having passed through capitalism and emerged on the other side. Each painting contains approximately 18ml of the solution.
In Reverse Engineer Mondrian, 2009, select tiles of |EDS| GALERIA’s floor were removed. An initial pattern was determined using Piet Mondrian’s abstractions. That pattern was then subjected to the “Game of Life,” a process invented by British mathematician John Conway, in which a simple rule set generates seemingly intelligent, organic form. Here, squares in a grid “live” (remain) or “die” (are removed) according to the status of their immediate neighbors; for instance, if a tile has more than three neighbors, it “dies” of overcrowding. A key to the process in the form of a photo-narrative hangs at the top of the stairs.
Lesbian Mountains in Love, 2008, a split-screen high-definition video, tells a tale of two mountains —Popocatepetl in Mexico and Mount Rainier in Washington State— who fell in love at the Earth’s core, but emerged in different locations, and now await tectonic plate movement to reunite them.
The stillness of the frames—quiet but for occasional subtle climatic variations and cloud movement—bespeaks the vastness of geologic (rather than historic or even archaeological) time, and belies the lovers' task: erosion will surely decimate them before they converge. 4'34" gaps of silence—an eternity for the contemporary art viewer, but negligible for the mountains—separate seven segments of Spanish-subtitled dialogue culled from American novelist Nicolas Sparks’ romances.
Christopher K. Ho (b. Hong Kong) lives and works in New York City. Recent exhibitions include: The Incheon Biennale (2009) and The Busan Biennale (2008), both in Korea; Never Late Than Better, The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, New York (2009); The Chinese Biennial, Beijing (2008); Landscape As Litmus, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Srpska (2008); Cultivate,
MASSMoCA at the Berkshire Botanical Gardens (2008); and Happy Birthday, Winkleman Gallery, New York (2008). He received his M.Phil and M.A. from Columbia University, and his B.F.A. and B.S. from Cornell University.

 

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