Jean Shin. Courtesy of Location One.
Location One presents And we move, an installation by New York based artist Jean Shin, which was developed during her residency at Location One. The opening will be held on Thursday June 19th from 6 to 8 pm and the exhibition will remain open to the public through Saturday July 26th, 2008.
Conceived as a site-specific installation, And we move continues Jean Shin’s investigation into the nature of music and its production. The installation utilizes the display of clothing, a video projection on fabric, unwound audio tape, embroidery, and compositional scores on prints, to explore how music is visualized and expressed through movement of the body, and how sound can be imprinted onto a surface. The result is the creation of a multimedia installation. The title And we move refers to the phrase iterated by the conductor as he begins to work with the musicians and evokes the dynamic relationship between them. It also refers to the way in which music moves its listeners.
In the video, the conductor’s back is isolated into a cropped view of his jacket as he leads the orchestra to play the lyrical score of Ma Vlast (My Country), a piece by Czech composer Bedrich Smetana, and Ibert’s Flute Concerto. The single viewpoint creates a mysterious, suggestive abstraction of something alive, pulsing, moving. As the conductor engages with each second of every orchestral part, the image of his moving jacket speaks to his essential relationship as an individual to the group of musicians and ultimately his role in both interpreting and realizing each collaborative performance.
The artist has chosen to include the structural columns of the gallery in her installation, which she equates to the structural system of a musical score, with measures and repetitive lines. Found magnetic audio tape is wrapped around and extended between the columns in a fluid and expressive manner, evoking the act of drawing, and creating a line of sound within the architectural space. The audio tape also refers to the materiality of music and its making; metaphorically it refers to the socio-economic interrelationships that lead to the production of music.
Further exploration of the themes is provided by a series of five large-scale inkjet prints on fabric. The prints are stills from the video which capture the conductor’s body in action and become moments of music frozen in time: music and movement distilled. On the bottom portion of each print, the score of Smetana’s Ma Vlast composition is printed continuously in a long horizontal band extending through all five images while the audio levels of the video are translated into a line of embroidery that runs between the still and the score, visually suturing the distinct elements together. The artist’s intention is to create a pause in the movement of a conductor’s action and contrast it with the musical language of the compositional score as well as the sampling of the audio track that is a record of the actual performance.
The use of clothing as representation of the body is integral to Jean Shin’s practice. In this new project, the artist is also thinking about the expressiveness of fabric throughout history (such as the Baroque and Hellenistic periods) and how it became almost more important than the figure, because it revealed the imprint of the figure, something greater than a simple depiction of the body.
Jean Shin’s residency at Location One is supported by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Thanks to Solo Impression Inc. for producing the digital prints for this exhibition, to Richard Lanier, Joseph W. Polisi, George Stelluto and the Julliard School of Music for their invaluable help.