20-21 Visual Arts Centre

Foucault defines language as "…a fragmented mass, its enigma renewed in every interval, which combines here and there with the forms of the world and becomes interwoven with them: so much so that all these elements, taken together, form a network of marks in which each of them may play, and does in fact play, in relation to all the others, the role of content or of sign, that of secret or of indicator."[1]

Mimi Joung's exhibition Mute-Scape presents a collection of objects revealing fragments of stories: of daily life, of human relationships, of place and displacement. The use of materials and working process is a careful language, one that is both intuitive and informed. Born in South Korea, Mimi Joung has also lived in the U.S and the UK. The fractured nature of everyday life seems to underpin the works on display.

Parallels to writing may be drawn from the hand-pinched clay pieces, which are suggestive of early methods of writing such as tallies and tokens. Joung describes "My daydreams, anxieties and traces of forgotten words are kneaded into the clay." The limitless possibilities of words rearranged to form meaning echoes the repetition and singularity evident in the making of these objects day after day, like a diary. Joung references Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities, where "Both narrator and reader seek resolution within the fragmented non-definitions of his imaginary places. But this questioning always leads to future collections of beginnings and alternatives that never resolves." Similarly, Joung's work seems to thrive in this state of un-resolve.

Most of the objects are constructed from groups of smaller pieces of ceramic, all of which are in some way contained: in bindings, found objects or in the precarious balance of their form. This provides a resolution of sorts, enabling both beginning and end, though simultaneously the work has neither. It is, then apt that this work is presented in a space that was formerly a Church, the building itself a container and vessel. A memorial tablet on the wall is inscribed with the words "Until the day break". It is evocative of this dual sense of past and future, reflection and anticipation. One, small piece in the Day Collector series, takes a found tin and binds it with a continuous loop of hot glass. The process is direct, and it is with this ease and simplicity that Joung manages to contain a complexity of thoughts. In many ways these thoughts lead back to the title and the idea of something mute- something unheard or unsaid. There is a silence in writing, of speaking without sound. The physical remains, whether ink on a page or the manipulation of other materials may be returned to again and again, to be experienced in new ways. Mute-Scape succeeds as a similar place for return and departures.

[1] Foucault, Michel, The Order of Things, Routledge, London, 2002 (first published as (Les mots et les choses, Editions Gallimard, 1966)

MA RCA Ceramics & Glass