Commonwealth and Council

Frieze Seoul 2022

Carmen Argote, Carolina Caycedo, Clarissa Tossin, Elle Pérez, Gala Porras-Kim, Kang Seung Lee, Young Joon Kwak

Press Release Download the exhibition checklist.

Installation view

Installation view

Installation view


A terminal escape from the place that binds us (2021—ongoing) continues Porras-Kim’s presentation for the 13th Gwangju Biennale. In researching the collection of the Gwangju National Museum, Porras-Kim became curious about two bodies dredged from a shipwreck. 


Porras-Kim is concerned with the tension between the anthropological impulse for careful preservation and the possibility that such remains were intended (per the artist) “to completely decompose as would be their natural course.” To contact the spirits and ask for their wishes for their final resting place, Porras-Kim turned to encromancy, a form of divination using a suspension of ink in water, resulting in large-scale fields of psychedelic marbling which accompany a letter written to the Gwangju National Museum’s director, requesting to “honor the voice and personhood of the dead.” 

Gala Porras-Kim

A terminal escape from the place that binds us

2022

Ink on paper, mahogany frame, document 

97.5 x 72.5 x 2 in (248 x 184 x 5 cm)

Gala Porras-Kim

A terminal escape from the place that binds us

2022

Ink on paper, mahogany frame, document
97.5 x 72.5 x 2 in (248 x 184 x 5 cm)

Kang Seung Lee

Untitled (The Heart of A Hand)

2022

Graphite on goatskin parchment, antique 24K gold thread on Sambe, walnut frame
Two parts: approx. 29.5 x 41 in (74 x 104 cm); 9 x 7.75 in (23 x 20 cm)
Framed: 35.5 x 45.25 x 3 in (90 x 115 x 8 cm); 12 x 10.5 x 3 in (31 x 27 x 8 cm); overall: 35.25 x 55.75 x 3 in (90 x 142 x 8 cm)


Kang Seung Lee’s work draws on oft-elided histories and ephemeral memories of queer communities, spanning generations and geographies, weaving them together to create syncretic dialogues. He has been particularly attentive to the marginalized histories of a generation of artists lost to the AIDS epidemic—the works on view at Frieze Seoul variously cite Martin Wong, Alvin Baltrop, Peter Hujar, and Paul Thek. 


With labor-intensive processes such as hand-embroidery on Sambe (hemp textile traditionally used in Korea as a burial shroud) and recreating photographs in graphite drawing, Lee pays homage to a prior generation of queer artists working within, through, and in spite of illness and tragedy. 


Untitled (The Heart of A Hand) derives from a text by Mexican poet Xavier Villaurrutia, translated into ASL via Martin Wong’s signature  “font” on Sambe and goatskin parchment. 

Carolina Caycedo

Medusa

2022

Hand-dyed artisanal cast nets, scratching stick, steel, acrylic paint, lead weights
Approx. 46.5 x 19 x 19 in (118 x 48 x 48 cm)


Carolina Caycedo’s ongoing project, Be Dammed, collaborates with riverine populations to address the socio-environmental impacts of dams. Often built in developing nations, including across Latin America, they act as infrastructural levers for economic development with little regard to the displacement of existing communities and long-term ruinous effects on the ecology. In the course of field research, Caycedo gathers objects, film footage, and testimonies. These elements form the basis of an investigation into the devastating ramifications of development as understood through the stories of those affected and their resistance, particularly those of female and indigenous eco-activists. 


Her Cosmotarrayas (or “Cosmonets”) series constructs fanciful allusions to symbolic forms, both human and animal, from fishing nets collected during fieldwork. These handcrafted, artisanal net sculptures both record and pay tribute to the survival of indigenous traditions. Recent iterations of the series allude to the body and to nature, visualizing the ways in which all forms of life are co-entangled.

Carmen Argote

My Friend the Hen

2022

Crayon, gel medium, iron powder, ink, and rooster tail feather on paper, walnut frame
29 x 22 in (74 x 56 cm)
Framed: 33 x 25.25 x 2 in (84 x 64 x 5 cm)


Carmen Argote’s recent body of work emerges from the junctures of play, therapy, and artmaking. Her practice is characterized by site-responsive actions of forage, salvage, and spatial exploration, always anchored in relation to her own body. The Mother series sees the site of Argote’s investigations shifting to her own psychic landscape, physically situated within and materially contextualized by the city of Los Angeles.  


Through a process akin to digestion, Argote metabolizes these impulses through everyday materials such as banana pulp and chicken plumage. Her representations of psychological archetypes mimic the form of a walking figure (mirroring her daily walks throughout the city), as well as gestures of surrender and openness, or sheltering and protecting. To Argote, these actions represent the inner child’s desire to safeguard its selfhood, expressed through an intuitive markmaking reminiscent of action painting. 

Carmen Argote

Banana Finger Painting/The Archetypes

2022
Banana and gum arabic on linen
72 x 49 x 1.5 in (183 x 125 x 4 cm)

Elle Pérez

seeker

2022

Archival pigment print on Gloss Baryta, white satin lacquer frame
Image size: 31.5 x 40 in (80 x 102 cm); print size: 36 x 44 in (91 x 112 cm)
Framed: 37 x 45 x 2 in (94 x 114 x 5 cm)

Edition of 5, 2 AP


Elle Pérez’s photographs reconsider notions of care and intimacy in the photographic tradition. Informed by the artist’s own relationships to their friends and lovers in the queer community as well as places they inhabit and visit as a nomadic artist and teacher, their images, while recalling classical portrait, landscape, and still-life photography, craft an almost anthropomorphic give-and-take of figuration and obfuscation—finding a ribcage in the gnarled roots of a cypress tree or the innuendo of a daylily’s splayed and furled petals. 


Accumulated scratches on the face of a New York bodega window index residues of encounter, an accidental aggregation of markmaking alluding to the indelible buildups of an invisible hand. Ultimately, Pérez’s images speak to visual realities rooted in desire, tactility, and queer states of being-becoming.

Elle Pérez

bodega flower shop

2020/2021
Archival pigment print on Gloss Baryta, frame
Image size: 14 x 10.5 in (36 x 27 cm); print size: 16.5 x 13 in (42 x 33 cm)
Framed: 17 x 13.5 x 2 in (43 x 34 x 5 cm)

Edition of 5, 2 AP

Elle Pérez

night bloom

2019/2021
Archival pigment print on Gloss Baryta, white satin lacquer frame
Image size: 20 x 15 in (51 x 38 cm); print size: 22.5 x 17.5 in (57 x 44 cm)
Framed: 23 x 18 x 2 in (58 x 46 x 5 cm)

Edition of 5, 2 AP

Carolina Caycedo

Chocha Morada

2022

Hand-dyed artisanal cast net, steel, acrylic paint, hemp thread, lead weights
Approx. 57.5 x 21.75 x 4.5 in (146 x 55 x 11 cm)

Gala Porras-Kim, Young Joon Kwak

Objects of Pleasure

2022

Color pencil and Flashe paint on paper, mahogany frame; Flashe paint, glitter, and acrylic on paper, mahogany frame
Diptych: 60.75 x 48.75 x 2.25 in (154 x 124 x 6 cm) each; overall: 60.75 x 98 x 2.25 in (154 x 249 x 6 cm)


A new collaboration between Gala Porras-Kim and Young Joon Kwak queers Porras-Kim’s Index drawings, which catalog cultural artifacts in wry, arbitrary logic to critique the perhaps equally arbitrary designations assigned to them by institutions. This latest iteration in the series presents an array of historical sex objects—literal fetishes, recontextualized as objects of institutional desire. 


Kwak’s negative-image counterpart transmutes these objects into a queer vision, a joyous celebration of sexuality, replacing the anthropological curiosities with contemporary adult paraphernallia, resplendent yet coy in their glittering silhouettes.

Young Joon Kwak

Divine Kiss/Divine 뽀뽀

2021

Rhinestones, glitter, resin, pigmented wax, chain
Approx. 15 x 25 x 7 in (38 x 64 x 18 cm)


Artist and performer Young Joon Kwak mobilizes a distinctly queer aesthetic of camp, maximalist adornment, and eroticism to rewrite histories of marginalization and erasure of queer, femme, and trans bodies. Her own body and those of her larger community reflect, untether, and transform lived realities to reimagine formlessness as a well of glittering potentiality. Kwak’s suspended sculptures of a Korean femme couple kissing as well as her own face create iridescent shells from a field of studded, holographic rhinestones—like armor, or a vision of an ever-shifting, always-becoming, state of being, juxtaposed with the somber visages within.