Interview: Hui-Chin Cho
Luca Curci talks with Hui-Chin Cho during THE EXTENDED BODY 2020 at THE LINE Contemporary Art Space.
Hui-Chin Cho finished her Bachelor of Fine Art degree at Slade School of Fine Art in 2018. She graduated with firstclass honours and made the dean’s list. Having grown up in a multicultural country, she prefers to use an amalgam of materials, especially vintage or antique materials, to prompt philosophical dialogues about the distortion of subject matter and abstract motifs, especially the grotesque iconography of babies as the motif sustains her work. Through a practice primarily consisting of painting and sculpture, Cho investigates vintage materials and the dilemma of using materials. Cho is interested in exploring how metaphors are overlaid and integrated into our ordinary perception of things, simultaneously depicting the manifestation of antique materials with ambiguous identities, and she insists on responding to the metaphors hidden in the materials. Her work is concerned with a miscellany of incongruous figures and motifs; fragments form a narrative that is grotesque but still compelling. Her inquisitive artistic approach leads to introspection and a reflection on humanity, desire, fetish, ambivalence, sadism and obsession. Cho, Hui-Chin currently lives and works in Paris.
Luca Curci – What is art for you?
Hui-Chin Cho – My works might be distilled in a description – perhaps as the phrase “sweet nerves”: adorable in a grotesque way.
LC – What’s your background? What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?
HC – In subject matter I am strongly oriented to figures in large scale paintings; I have a predilection for baby figures. I attempt to convey the possible meaning of the inevitable relationship between immersive obsessions and humanity. Precisely speaking, my work is experimental deconstruction. It establishes a dialogue which is an inner equilibrium between rational analysis and sentimental interpretations. By exploring these responses, the processes of deconstruction could help each individual viewer form their own perceptions flow through my works and uncover their own opinions about desire, fetish, ambivalence, sadism and obsession. In terms of my aesthetics, the postulate in my works is that painting, sculpture, photography now even sounds are the same manifestation while the viewers may see the dialogue between elements of the works. Identifiable in all my works is a certain ambiguous depiction of concrete dimension, and such ambiguities could be conveyed into a variety of compositions and motifs. For example, very often, I use multiple elements and points of reference to present a consolidation – with perhaps purely colours, collage, and grotesque iconography of babies. In these consolidations, there is interaction between structures that are multi-dimensional in their character and potential, patterns which correlate with motifs, and the figure. As mentioned, the baby figure has been central in my work; I intentionally depict such figures in a fairly diminutive scale. This is the dialogue I intent to present, which is the interaction of the perception that viewers could flow through my works to find the informations. To be precise, in all my works, dialogue stems from these elements, and from the viewer’s interactive process and mechanisms of perception when attending to each work. When it comes to figures, as what I was saying. I have a predilection for figure. I have mentioned my inclination towards the figure, which I think stems in part from my childhood. I remember being surrounded by depictions in Japanese manga/anime game culture, with these human or humanoid forms piquing my interest. The influence is pretty easy to identify in the anima-like treatment of figures in my works. I personally believe in Reincarnation; consequently, the iconography of ‘baby’ is such an ‘ambiguous’ identity to me – this identity could as easily represent a culmination as it could be the beginning of a creature, raising issues of ambiguity in concept and materiality of my works. ‘Materiality’ is another crucial facet to my works, notably in objects which are antique, vintage or expired, which could correlate with the existence between life and death – namely of creatures – or with how contemporary society defines its gratification. My choice of vintage materials such as leathers has at its base the correlation of luxury gratification, in how people fixate and obsess, representing their gratification during that period of time. Very often I find that ‘indulgence’ is fundamental for humanity; when the behaviour of being overly obsessed with gratification shows our instinctive needs, in particular those associated with the dark side of humanity, such as desire, fetish, and obsession.
LC – Where do you find your inspiration?
HC – With a curiosity toward death, I have been researching and exploring subjects related to the existence between life and death in my artworks. This is because I have been enlightened that I have been close to death for around 10 years. I was diagnosed with a breast tumour in mid-2018, and such a feeling could actually be traced back to as early as the age of 15-16, when the thought of committing suicide kept coming to me. As a result, the concrete reason of choosing certain materials is a fascinating musing to me. The possibility of creating an artwork certainly intrigues me. Apart from choosing materials, issues of humanity, figurations, controversies and sensations often inspire me. Precisely speaking, I believe that controversial issues intensely dominate me, and I enjoy arranging the discrepancy between the appearance and the meaning hidden behind, which coincides with one of my ideas-sugar-coated humanity, the darkest side of humanity. Moreover, I attempt to approach an inner equilibrium among my psychological dialogues; however, such equilibrium could never happen to me as I suffer from inner catastrophes. These, in a way, could be a source of my inspiration. Besides these, in terms of figurations, diverse multi-cultures, especially my own vague identity, massively fascinate me. This causes an ambiguous definition of ‘the figure’. I realise such ambiguity galvanises my imagination and inspires me to explore my own figurative style and personal motifs as grotesque figures.
LC – What is the most challenging part about creating your artworks?
HC – Now I live and work in Paris with the France Passeport Talent artist VISA. I moved to the UK at the age as an adolescent, and in 2018 I finished my undergraduate degree at the UCL Slade School of Fine Art. Everything happens naturally and smoothly when you really focus on your art manifestation. I have had a few successful (read: earning money with own artworks and galleries) exhibitions after graduation. For instance, I had the opportunities developing my artist career in Asia, having solo shows, group shows or notable international art fairs. It could be terrifying for people to leave their comfort zone; however, it is crucial for me to challenge my current manifestations but keep my own identifiable motifs and iconography of figures in my works sometimes so that I can improve myself with new perceptions… Having the courage to change or challenge my ‘successful’ experiences, art manifestation and the environments surrounding myself are the most exciting things to me. My art is my medicine. It brings me solace and is a process of therapy. When I feel insecure about my ability, my artwork brings me a sense of achievement. It is a platform that helps me communicate with the world of temptations or the world of sensual pleasures and vanity.
LC – What are you currently working on?
HC – I’m fixated with certain materials, especially antique leather, and their correlation with the human being, extending to questions of gratification of how it is/was offered, provided, and defined.
LC – Are your artworks focused on a specific theme?
HC – Approaching uncomfortable truths of humanity.
LC – How is being an artist nowadays?
HC – Staying at home and keeping doing painting.
LC – What do you think about ITSLIQUID Platform?
HC – Filled with chances.
LC – Would you suggest a collaboration with us? What do you think about our services?
HC – Yes, I would definitely love to collaborate with ITSLIQUID because they do provide a variety of opportunities for exposures.
LC – Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
HC – Yes, definitely. It will be great if there are more chances like solo shows.