Venice Biennale Project 2019
7. 1. 2019 - 7. 28. 2019
7. 1. 2019 - 7. 28. 2019
Ray Gallery is pleased to present Oh! My Candy Girl, Kangnam Cho’s solo exhibition, as the third part of our Venice Biennale Project 2019, a series of exhibitions that coincides with the Biennale di Venezia.
If Renoir’s muse and favorite subjects were women of the 19th and 20th century, the 21st century women are Kangnam Cho’s main inspiration. They are constantly reoccurring protagonists in Cho’s paintings and they emit with festive and jubilant atmosphere. They are depicted with traditionally beautiful appearance with vibrant bold colors. Cho labels them “Candy Girls,” allegorical figures of the 21st century women, whose life, love, and desire Cho depicts in her works.
It may be easy to compartmentalize Cho’s works as kitsch or pop art based on its aesthetic merits. It may also be easy to pick up feminist qualities in Cho’s works as it is easily inferable from her continuous references to fashionable romantic comedy films and chick flicks targeted towards present-day women as well as her use of bold colors on female subjects and grayscale on male figures. One may say her use of female images are based on male-gaze and thus not feminist, yet by accepting those are parts of her innocuous fantasies and her own idea of “traditional beauty,” Cho appropriates her own exploited subconscious mind that has been shaped by the society based on male-gaze. Cho’s feminist stance is also obvious from her protagonists’ enthusiastic engagement in various activities depicted in her paintings. Her other messages include love, forgiveness, and progression. Youth Is the Captain and Heroes are great examples of employing images of couples embracing each other and ecstatic friends to hint her idea of the future of South and North Korea.
In explaining her apparent infatuation with “Candy Girls,” Cho revealed that her own desire to stay out of the suffocating dark thoughts and negativities in the world. She then explained that everyone inevitably goes through some forms of struggle and dark times and that we must accept them at the end, but we should also take a breath of fresh air at times. Cho says her “Candy Girls willingly provide such moments” for her.
Kangnam Cho received her BFA degree from Seoul National University of Technology Fine Art and MFA from Hongik University in Seoul. Cho has exhibited at various venues including several Korean galleries and art fairs. Institutions at which Cho has exhibited include the Contemporary Art Center in ABQ, New Mexico, Naeseolag Public Museum and Gangneung Museum in South Korea.