JESSE CHUN

SULLAE 술래
September 10 – November 25, 2020



The Yeh Art Gallery at St. John’s University in New York City presents Jesse Chun: SULLAE 술래, a solo exhibition of new works by the New York-based conceptual artist. Working across video, sculpture, drawing, sound, and text, her practice addresses systems of language, power and legibility. For this exhibition, Chun continues her investigation by looking to the Moon as a conceptual site; addressing it not only as a poetic metaphor, but also as a colonial subject. The exhibition will run from September 10 - November 23, 2020.

The exhibition title, SULLAE 술래, comes from the name of a traditional, precolonial Korean women’s moon dance, gang gang sullae (강강술래), in which women gather under the full moon to shout and dance. With unknown origins and speculated variations, this harvest dance is also presumed to be a means for unleashing silenced anger: release through song, bellowing, yelling, and circling under the Moon. Chun authors her own contemporary version of SULLAE 술래 in a large-scale 3-channel video. In this immersive installation, Chun interweaves consonants of the English language, Hangeul and English text, moving images of the moon dance, with various index pages from intonation books, white noise, and word-censor bleep. The video oscillates between the sonic, visual, and semiotic; undoing the English language, its embodied violence and dominance through abstraction and mistranslation — a process the artist describes as unlanguaging.

Across from the video wall hangs Chun’s new moons, a crescent-shaped security mirror hung at body height and askew, which the artist pairs with 2 graphite wall drawings of its shadow. The security mirror reflects the video installation, but fails to surveil viewers in the space effectively. In the dark, Chun has placed a single drawing, score (for unlanguaging). The formal motifs present in all the works continue Chun’s visual investigations throughout her practice: English text, grids, bureaucratic watermarks, the various structures that uphold the systemic rendering of one’s legibility as a subject.

In SULLAE 술래, the Moon encircles a multiplicity of systems, languages and untranslatable memories — simultaneously transcribing and unlanguaging, so one can shout into the night, under its warm shadow.

Jesse Chun: SULLAE 술래 is curated for the Yeh Art Gallery by Owen Duffy, Director.

Photo above: Jesse Chun, still from SULLAE 술래, 3-channel HD video, 6 minutes 24 seconds. Image courtesy the artist.