Commonwealth & Council presents Mother Spill, an exhibition of recent sculptures, videos, and photographs by Young Joon Kwak. Kwak combines steel, plaster, and digital prints on transparent film, using the over-fecund colors of a queen’s makeup palette to explore material transmutation and assemblage. Mother Spill provides a window into Kwak’s utopian vision of aggregate bodies, exploding the grid, and the pursuit of a new trans-feminine voice. This is Kwak’s first solo exhibition with the space.
The flood recedes, slowly the valley is recovered. The water drains gradually, leaving a layer of silt and oil over everything, animated by new light. I look for you among the fences rising slowly like mushrooms. The acid air opens up craters in my back. Grit and slick coat our limbs, but alive! excessively alive, our conditions of life having been washed away, we are overstayed; we should have died with our identities, we are alive, but lifeless. I find you dead, persisting anyway with things, you find me in thirds without sight or sexuality. “Hey, lookin’ for this?” you say, and gathering myself, I draw my nose across your skin like I practiced, unsure what to do with it anymore. Something gnaws at my Achilles tendon, I accept it. Pressed against each other, we pass the natal slime between us, creating a suction over the entire surface of our skin. Sharp pebbles floating in the muck gouge pits in our chests, little holes the shape of crows’ feet. Our bodies won’t go quiet, we can’t stop performing for each other. Past use or value to anyone, we draw cartoons from memory on each other’s bodies, for want of anything else to do with them. We have a lot of time to practice. We don’t know who we are. Lacking ourselves, we have sisters. —Becket Flannery, 2014
Young Joon Kwak (b. 1984) performs in the band Xina Xurner, and is co-founder of Mutant Salon in Los Angeles. Kwak received her MFA from USC Roski School of Art & Design, MA from the University of Chicago, and BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.