Humours

Selected Placards from Ori Chon’s MoMA Exhibition “Inert 1”

Falling Air (2013)
charcoal on paper

With but a handful of choppy scribbles and flecks of form, the artist makes the eye do the work, drawing attention in a sweeping current around the work as deftly as a salmon might leap upstream. Ultimately, that s the true medium: attention. The viewer is reminded harshly but rightly that the only parts of a work that exist in our minds are the parts we notice.

Reasonable Doubt (2012)
copper wire and wood

Much has been made of transgressive art, but all too often, artists hold back from the one dimension of confrontation that truly matters: that against the viewer. Here, the artist explores depths of true disgust that are not seen when an artist aims their appeal at a distant target, the way one might satire an abstract social trend. The target of the artist’s enmity here is the audience, thus enabling us, as the victim, to experience something truly engaging.

Christmas Trees (2014)
mixed

Don’t be tempted to immediately look away. You will miss so many subtleties. While the imagery, the basic aesthetics, or even the medium itself might repulse you, there is wisdom in that horror. Here the artist takes a mundane activity most of us do every day and escalates it to a grim, hedonistic apotheosis. If you find in this no truth, no excruciating epiphany, then you are unlikely to find it anywhere.

Jolly Good Fellow (2017)
film projection upon painted tin sheet

While mostly notable for its part in history, the actual artistic value of this piece can’t be denied. Divorced from all controversy, we see an expression of grief and bittersweet longing that is simultaneously powerful and terribly fragile. Curator’s note: This is, of course, a replica, but it was constructed from the artist’s explicit instructions.

[image credit]

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