Commonwealth and Council

Frieze Los Angeles 2020

Young Joon Kwak and Oren Pinhassi


Commonwealth and Council presents the sixth installment of G.L.O.W., pairing artists to face off/join forces in tribute to Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling. For G.L.O.W. Match Six (Gaze Living Other Worlds) at Frieze Los Angeles 2020, Young Joon Kwak and Oren Pinhassi propose new sites of queer embodiment, offering us glimpses into liminal and underexposed spaces present in our daily realities.

Kwak’s new sculptures affirm, with defiant verve, places for queer, non-normative bodies in our social and political spheres (such as the space of the art fair), re-centering the alien, the abject, and the obscene from the margins. Flirting with Modernism, a found Herman Miller chair is transmuted into a torso in indolent repose; Brancusi’s Sleeping Muse gets a makeover, studded with casts of male sex toys. Traces of bodies abound in Kwak’s hollowed forms, burnished ectoplasmic impressions asserting a queer immanence. Their poses simultaneously suggest supplication, pleasure, distress, nostalgia, the past, the present, and the future. These shadows ultimately reveal the body through its absence, as landmark, as sites for potentiality.

Oren Pinhassi’s tactile sculptures, rendered in plaster and sand, deal in states of ambiguity and simultaneity. Bodies appear implied and at the same time disavowed in the reworked familiar shapes of an umbrella, a tree. Readymade elements like toothbrushes sprout out of a tree—neither natural nor artificial, but rather some herald of a futuristic hybridity. An awning, a walker, an umbrella: whispers of care, support, and shelter imbue the works with a tenderness. At the same time, holes and protrusions hint at lascivious desires, a trickster incongruity. This borderless polyamory among bodies, objects, and categories carries an erotic thrust—a sensual and expansive logic that guides the formation of new understandings, for a queer futurity.

Young Joon Kwak (b. 1984, Queens, New York; lives and works in Los Angeles) received her MFA from the University of Southern California in 2014, MA in Humanities from the University of Chicago in 2010, and BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2007. She has had solo exhibitions at Cloaca Projects, San Francisco (2019); Walter Phillips Gallery, Banff, Canada (2018); Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (2018); Satellite, Seoul, South Korea (2014); and Happy Dog Gallery, Chicago (2012). Selected group exhibitions have been held at Antenna Space, Shanghai (2019); Gas, Los Angeles (2018); 47 Canal, New York (2018); Anonymous Gallery, Mexico City, Mexico (2018); MANA Contemporary, Chicago (2017); Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery (2017); Smack Mellon, New York (2016); Machine Project, Los Angeles (2015); and Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2015). Kwak is the recipient of the Rema Hort Mann Foundation’s Emerging Artist Grant (2018), the Art Matters Grant (2016), the Rema Hort Mann Foundation’s Artist Community Engagement Grant (2016), and the Joan Mitchell Foundation’s Ox-Bow Scholarship for Sculptors (2011). Kwak is the founder of Mutant Salon, a roving beauty salon/platform for experimental performance collaborations with her community of queer, trans, femme, POC artists and performers, and the lead performer in the electronic-dance-noise band Xina Xurner.

Oren Pinhassi (b.1985, lives and works in New York) received an MFA from Yale in 2014 and B.Ed.F.A. in 2011 from Beit-Berl College, Hamidrasha School of Art. Selected solo exhibitions have been held at Castello di San Basilio, Basilicata, Italy (2019); Palazzo Monti, Brescia, Italy (2019); 56 Henry, Philadelphia, PA (2018); Edel Assanti, London (2018); Skibum MacArthur, Los Angeles (2018); Ribot Gallery, Milan, Italy (2017); Petach-Tikva Museum of Art, Israel (2017); and Tempo Rubato Gallery, New York (2016). Pinhassi has participated in group exhibitions at Boers-Li Gallery, New York (2019); Museo d’Arte Contemporanea di Lissone, Italy (2019); Tina Kim Gallery, New York (2019); David Zwirner Gallery, New York (2018); Thierry Goldberg, New York (2018); and Galerie Eva Meyer, Paris (2017). Selected awards and residencies include Castello di San Basilio Residency, Basilicata, Italy (2019); Palazzo Monti Artist Residency, Brescia, Italy (2019); Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant (2019); Via Farini Residency, Milan, Italy (2017); Outset Contemporary Fund Bialik Residency (2017); Shandaken Projects Storm King Residency, New York (2016); Art Slant Prize (2014); and Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, ME (2014).