The Gallery Apart is proud to present Petrichor, the second solo show by Sinae Yoo (Seoul, 1985) hosted in the gallery spaces. Exploring the sensory imagery of Sinae Yoo means living a sensory experience of great visual impact and which soon morphs into a meeting with themes, suggestions and requests related to ethical and moral foundations which since ever have compelled human beings to question themselves and the environment where their earthly life unfolds. In the last few years, by exploiting a wide range of media, Sinae Yoo has investigated topics such as estrangement and bondage under the yoke of capitalism. Drawing on the visual culture as a defining part of advertising and video games, the artist evokes an aesthetic form of seduction which ensnares and shatters the souls in its virtual network.
The exhibit unfolds around the video installation that lends its title to the show. Petrichor is a word coined by some scientists during the Sixties to describe the distinct scent when a storm’s first raindrops hit the ground after a long period of dry weather. The video is the result of a close cooperation with a community of artists whom Sinae Yoo met in the city of Baltimore, where the artist lived during the last year and where the video has been shot. The film features Elon Batlle, the composer and singer Mathew Starke, and the poet Keenon Brice, while Alex Deranian and Sylvain Gerboud composed its soundtrack.
Set in service stations and in car parks, Petrichor revolves around the car as an emblematic object of a regulatory, hyper-masculinized power. A world controlled and inhibited by the lean curves and by the powerful audio system of a muscle car. The artist uses subculture products to investigate the mechanisms which govern personal relationships and the relation with the expressions of the self which, in the capitalist system, are based on forms of extreme competitiveness. Capitalism, in fact, does not promise any salvation or redemption for the weak, but only default and debt, and in art, just like at work, the mainstream exploits and destroys the free subcultures, imposing submission, obedience and conformity to the dominant aesthetic canons.
The protagonists of Petrichor seek to escape this by giving life to scenes where music and drama serve as catalyst for emancipation, resilience and fortitude. The rebellion against the imposed uniformity goes through the exaltation of a space and of shared social practices, of a sociological habitus which here is defined “Glass flex”, a subculture where the affirmation of identity and the social recognition is based on a competition over the biggest in-car audio system, over who has the most powerful subwoofers. The video installation and its score are inspired by such hyper- masculinized aesthetics.
Music plays a key role in the project Petrichor. The song “Shield” borrows the music that, in a stunning detail of the tryptich oil painting “The Garden of Earthly Delights”, housed in the Museo del Prado in Madrid, Hieronymus Bosch painted upon the posterior of one of his innumerable upsetting figures. The result is a completely new song that one of the protagonists featuring in the video sings, which however the spectators cannot hear. The song indeed is played on the upper floor of the gallery where the audience will listen to it while having the big mural work of art in front of them that Sinae Yoo has painted on the highest wall of the gallery, and on which the artist wrote “Inner music can be heard when you close your eyes”. It invites to rediscover the spiritual dimension that the consumerist society tends to reject. The abstract collages featuring the exhibition are inspired by such dimension and by its possible and personal visual representation.