In the classical art tradition, a ‘still life‘ is one of the most fundamental forms of visual representation.
For his debut album, the Cologne-based multi-media artist Inwoo Jung approaches the classical ‘still life’ tradition from a post-structuralist perspective. Entitled Still Life With, the album is delivered as a meta-narrative exploring the relationship between subject and object. Karlsruhe, Germany-based label and artist collective 76666 are releasing Still Life With digitally and physically in the form of a customized letter. With the album presented as ‘still life’ and personalized ‘letter,’ Jung self-references his subjective position in the creation of the work. The listener thus finds themselves intimately connected to the work (via letter) while paradoxically, mediated by universalized object-forms (via still life.)
On two-part track “nowhere: It Changes the Change,” Jung applies a visual art methodology to sound design. In a style known as ‘tone painting,’ Jung blends static noise with ambient textures and found sounds to convey shifts in orientation towards material reality.
The video accompaniment to “nowhere: It Changes the Change” depicts a still life scene that has been digitized and fragmented. Made up of 200+ photographs taken by Johann Husser that have been mapped onto 3D imaging software, the video delves through the interstitial spaces of noumenal reality. Several allusions are littered amidst the scenery: the apples are sourced from Paul Cézanne’s still life paintings, the teapot is a replica of Martin Newell’s 3D test model “Utah Teapot” and the book is a copy of Samuel Butler’s novel “Erewhon.”
With these references, Jung invokes a phenomenological reading of “nowhere: It Changes the Change.” The title of the novel “Erewhon” is a play on ‘nowhere’ and ‘now-here,’ which relates to the immanence and transcendence of ideas. Jung is placed as the perceiving-subject of the still life and presumably, we are witnessing the content of his consciousness. The apples and teapot are simulacra twice removed through Jung’s perception, thus problematizing their instantiation in objective reality. “nowhere: It Changes the Change” is a highly insightful work that probes questions on the nature of consciousness, the creation of meaning and the essence of art.
Still Life With is out 25/09/20 on 76666. Pre-order it here.