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“Yong Soon Min: AVM: After Venus (Mal)formation” and “Candice Lin: The mountain” at Commonwealth and Council

Yong Soon MinAVM: After Venus (Mal)formation

Candice LinThe mountain

November 19, 2016—January 7, 2017
New Reception Hours: Saturday, November 19, 5–7PM
Location: 3006 W 7TH ST STE 220 Los Angeles CA 90005
Exhibition Hours: WednesdaySaturday, 12–6PM and by appointment
Closed: Thursday, November 24; Saturday, December 24; and Saturday, December 31
Opening Day Parking: 2904 W 7TH ST

Yong Soon MinAVM: After Venus (Mal)formation
Arteriovenous Malformation (AVM) refers to an abnormal network of blood vessels in which arteries connect directly to veins instead of going through a bed of capillaries. In 2010, Yong Soon Min experienced a massive headache—triggered by the stress of a Korean language proficiency exam—that turned out to be a cerebral hemorrhage. The malformed blood vessels in the left hemisphere of her brain had ruptured, engulfing it in blood. Though AVM surgery removed the tiny abnormality, Min underwent a year-long process of therapy to rehabilitate her affected speech and memory. Even to this day, she confuses pronouns like ‘she’ and ‘he’ and often speaks one word when she means another, disrupting the relationship between the signifier and the signified.

Installed above a printed flooring of Min’s personal library of books and mementos, a decagon-shaped table extends around a partition wall which divides the exhibition space into halves, like the two hemispheres of the brain. The ten sections are cut through with five corresponding pairs of words: pizza/pyramid; diaspora/diarrhea; womb/tomb; happiness/penis; and thank/spank. Across the surface, glass spheres flow along the grooves suggesting synaptic connection between each pair. The benches for the visitors to sit on are carved with phrases based on Min’s memory retrieval of five slogans, including one which she inherited from her parents: 남남북녀 (nam nam buk nyuh), a severe shorthand expression that means: ‘handsome South Korean men are best with beautiful North Korean women.’ In the two corners of the space, wall vinyl of a Vulcan greeting and air quotes connect like a Mobius strip suggesting that cognition is based on a foundation of constructs within which language can elaborate our thoughts, yet becomes susceptible to the slip of the tongue.

“Last Notes and Sketches, Min Tae Yong (1918-2001)” is an homage to Min’s father composed of folded panels in the style of Korean byung poong. The pages are displayed as swiveling windows to reveal marks on both sides. On disposable notepads, her father’s handwritings and diagrams combine complex and sophisticated ideas about physics, revealing an obsessive mind for order and latent cognitive strife. Written in Korean, the panels contain thirteen concepts of the multiverse that defy easy translation. In his “Cognitive Transitive Simulation To Achieve Communication” prose, Min Tae Yong writes about being in a ‘cosmic membrane’ composed of ‘cosmoans, galaxians, starmen,’ and all the anthropic entities whose spirits permeate the cosmos. He ends this page with a series of questions: “Is the spirit strong enough? Is the technology advanced enough? To be able to be on line with them?” This final draft bears the deliberate marks of his revision as he crossed out ‘the’ to replace it with ‘your.’

Candice LinThe mountain

There was a painting of a mountain that hung in the hallway of my childhood. Every evening it would berate me as I lay in my bed, like a cockroach, unable to rise. It called me a silly girl, a cupcake, a deformed puppy, a toenail, and a rock. It told me I was sick and lazy and that I masturbated the wrong way and too much. The painting depicted Humboldt’s mountain and it organized the strata of the world, the plants by their habitual altitude, and the ways that other mountains did or did not measure up.[i]

In the mythologies of the world, flawed superhumans or failed gods are torn apart in fits of rage or jealousy and the fragments of their bodies fall and fossilize, becoming landscape. In plate tectonics, mountains mark the areas where one surface pushes against another fragment of its lost self, a Platonic pansexual Pangeaic dream of earthquakes and never enough. Their grinding is fraught with a mineral desire to change one’s shape, to lose one’s temporary boundaries.

“The mountain” is the sediment—scar tissue built up in a slow accumulation of flesh wounds—pulling, pushing, and burying what was lost in the call and response. Its remnants of historical violence are arbitrary, relegated to the land of folk. This mythology is barely seen because, like skin, it surrounds us.

“The mountain” is a consideration of matter in four different stages: putrefaction, petrification, surface, and memory. Each stage is presented as a tableau of objects upon a reverse glass painting of various textures, mythological scenes collaged with historical and contemporary images. Many of the objects utilize living or natural processes, such as the mineralization of chemicals onto a taxidermied reptile (petrification) or the growth of edible mold on a tondo of resin-preserved mushrooms (putrefaction).

“The mountain” contains an ecosystem of entangled lives. There are silkworms weaving their cocoons which can be used to cleanse and whiten human faces (surface); their spit becomes a shroud to the familiar word “Father” written in George Psalmanazar’s made-up language—an 18th century foreigner who created an idea of the Orient.[ii] The surface is ever-changing.


Memory 1: On one of the four tables, there are mushrooms used for cultivating memory-production. These are hydrated and kept alive by a fine mist of liquid distilled from our communal piss.[iii]
Memory 2: I came home late last night to find two bottles of urine in a brown paper bag slung over my dilapidated fence. It was bottled so beautifully I could not resist a sniff and then a taste. Don’t worry; I kept it for the communal pool, though I was tempted to drink it all. I would guess that the bottle containing less was a vegetable-eater; its flavor of salt was so punctuated by an herbaceousness that it opened my eyes wide. The other one was softer, more mellow and fragrant like metallic earth with a tinge of ocean.

Memory 3: Before you died, you lived for years with a hole cut into your throat and would pour your whisky into your beer to soften the burn. You said you liked mixing things into beer and once you pissed in a cup of beer and gave it to a collector who was annoying you. He didn’t notice the salty taste. But I did.
[i] I am reminded of a story of a woman who came in really drunk to the tattoo parlor and revealed a tattoo of a giant penis marked as a measuring stick emblazoned on the length of her torso from the crotch up, with Old English Script written above it: “Measure Up.” She asked, “Can you turn this into the Scales of Justice? I’m a firm believer in the Truth.”

[ii] George Psalmanazar was a European who lived in London in the early 1700s within an invented persona as a “Formosan.” He wrote an ethnographic text about his life, culture, language, and religion, and survived for many years on the proceeds and hospitality of hosts who found him exotic and charming.

[iii] Thank you to friends and members of the Commonwealth and Council community for the generous donation of your urine, including Julie Tolentino, Pigpen, Gala Porras-Kim, Ashley Hunt, Jeanine Oleson, Clara López Menéndez, Patrick Staff, Joel Freeman, Jennifer Moon, laub, David Bell, Cirilo Domine, Patricia Fernández, Eduardo Consuegra, Elana Mann, Tala Mateo, Yong Soon Min, Benjamin Love, Danielle Dean, Young Joon Kwak, Marvin Astorga, Kang Seung Lee, Geoffrey Wall, Jen Smith, Olga Koumoundouros, Michael Ned Holte, and Alice Könitz. Our collective urine will be distilled into a fluid resembling water, but retaining a high mineral content and any pharmaceutical or hormonal properties ingested by the contributors.
LAMOA DS#3 presents podKelly AkashiAnne Cousineau, and Danielle Dean organized by laub

November 19, 2016—March 4, 2017

As we inject our future into the materiality of things, where is our bodily focus? Who are we within our constructed reality? In Jane Bennett’s Vibrant Matters, we are introduced to our not so stranger, discarded selves—stacked within the homes of hoarders, swirled into plastic islands in oceans and clogged inside storm drains. What Bennett encourages is a conversation with the thingness that surrounds us. Similar to Karen Barad’s idea of intra-action, which can be described as “the mangling of people and things and other stuff’s ability to act” from within the relationship rather than from outside of it. Our porous bodies are enmeshed with the thingness of our industrialized, formalized, and consumerized, product-driven, global warming selves. It is amidst this seemingly apocalyptic time that we begin to understand what this entanglement entails for the future of life as we know it.
Kelly Akashi, as artist as alchemist, explores materials that melt, harden, shape and reshape invoking unseen essences of what an object is, was, and is to become. Anne Cousineau works with organic materials that decay and transform, queering notions of permanence, stability, and time. Danielle Dean’s video, BioWhite, materializes social constructs of racism by paralleling Louis Kahn’s excessive use of concrete with the burgeoning of skin lightening enterprises.

Kelly Akashi lives and works in Los Angeles, and has studied at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles (MFA); Städelschule, Frankfurt am Main; and Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles (BFA). Her work has recently been shown at the Hammer Museum (Made in L.A. 2016: a, the, though, only); David Roberts Art Foundation, London; Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo; The Jewish Museum, New York; Shanaynay, Paris; White Flag Projects, Saint Louis; Tomorrow Gallery, New York (solo); Michael Jon & Alan, Miami (solo); Midway Contemporary Art, Minneapolis; and Château Shatto, Los Angeles. Akashi’s solo exhibition, Being as a Thing, is currently on view at Ghebaly Gallery in Los Angeles until December 23, 2016.

Anne Cousineau is an artist living and working in Los Angeles. Through material investigations, Anne entangles cultural notions of the synthetic and organic to consider questions of the body within nature. They received a BFA in Painting from The Rhode Island School of Design and are currently a MFA candidate at The Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts, Bard College.

Danielle Dean’s work draws from her multi-national background of being English, American, and Nigerian. Her work explores the colonialism of mind and body—the interpellation of the subject by power structures working through digital media, news, and advertising. She focuses on target-marketing practices that reinscribe markers such as race, gender, age, etc. She is interested in subverting such processes toward a non-essentialized space of being. Solo exhibitions include: Focus, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; and Hexafluorosilicic, Commonwealth and Council, Los Angeles. Group exhibitions include: Shifters, Art in General, New York; It Can Howl, Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, Atlanta; What Shall We Do Next, Diverse Works, Houston; and Made in L.A. 2014, the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles. Her video work was recently screened at MOMA PS1, New York. Residencies include: The Whitney’s Independent Study Program, New York; and The Core Program, Houston. Dean is a Rema Hort Mann Foundation and Creative Capital awardee, and received her MFA from California Institute of the Arts and BFA from Central St Martins.
Commonwealth and Council
3006 W 7TH ST STE 220
Los Angeles CA 90005
213 703 9077
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