Shinuk Suh: Post Human Syndrome

Shinuk Suh

Artwork’s Title: Post Human Syndrome- A Failure

Materials Used: Steel, DC motor, controller box, silicone, PET-G

Studio Based: London

Shinuk Suh, A Failure (2021) Steel, DC motor, controller box, silicone, PET-G, 72 x 150 x 88 cm

Can you tell us about the process of making your work?

I usually get most ideas in the process of expanding my artistic context. I take inspiration from a number of references and present them as a visual language, usually beginning with a simple sketch. Then, in order to embody the sketch more specifically, I use various computer software to create a final drawing for making new work. The period of actually producing a new work from that drawing is not that long, but I spend most of my time making the final drawing.

How would you define your work in a few words (ideally in 3 words)?

Human Production Factory.

Speaking about your new artworks, is there any particular concept/story behind the ‘A FAILURE’ artwork which plays a significant role in your new installation?

Yes.  This work is the centrepiece of this exhibition.  Perhaps, based on the meaning of the work, I think the other works will be able to interact with each other.

All of the human bodies depicted in my work are not in their normal shape.  For example, there is a whole body of a human represented as a theta wave; a smooth hand with a front and back side that both look the same, like the hand of an animated character; and head shapes in which specific symbols penetrate the centre of the sculpture.  I use such exaggerated transformation as a device to visually express the influence of external factors on human consciousness and unconsciousness.  And it highlights the imperfection and deficiency in human beings affected by it.

Industrial goods produced in a factory are distributed to the market after thorough inspection and selection, and only perfect products are consumed by buyers’ choice.  In addition, defective or inferior products that are not commercially acceptable are returned and discarded at the end.  I was inspired by the mechanism of a factory and the circulation structure of the capital market and tried to reflect it in my work.

This work is a symbolic representation of a person who has no economic value within the economic logic and is defined by the capitalistic market as a failure.  And it visualises how the human body is capitalised and exploited in the post-capitalism era.  The statue made with a 3D printer was intentionally printed with errors in the manufacturing process.  It paradoxically portrays the question of what is the perfect human image our society wants by symbolically presenting the imperfect human image.  At the same time, with the kinetic movement, I express the struggle of human beings who blindly follow the perfect human image presented by society.

Could you give us some more details regarding your recent solo exhibition ‘POST-HUMAN SYNDROME’ at the Beers gallery?

My work visualises the role and influence that ideologies contribute in the process of constructing human consciousness and unconsciousness by comparing it to the production line of factories in an installation format.  However, in my solo exhibition this time, rather than focusing on the system of factories, I focused more on imagining industrial goods produced on the factory line as a work. In addition, while exploring the ideologies underlying the Information Revolution, I projected my views on the new standard of the ideal human image that our society has demanded in this new exhibition.

Observing your installations, it seems evident that your work is dominated by DC motors. What does really motivate you to get involved into kinetic sculptures at this impressive level?

From the first time I started projecting the artistic context of a factory system onto my work, I got a lot of inspiration from watching various factory product process videos.  In particular, I was fascinated by the simple and repetitive mechanical movements shown in those videos.  And after realizing that most factories are operated by AC or DC motors, I started to pay attention to industrial motors, and to incorporate them directly into my work.

Do specific artworks have been created by random experiments in your studio or do you always come up with a particular concept or narrative in the very beginning?

It seems to be both.

As I mentioned in the first question, I usually target a specific concept to create a work and produce a complete drawing for it.  However, mistakes and problems always arise in the production process.  In fact, I seem to expect and enjoy it. Because the moment you face unexpected problems, better ideas emerge to solve them.

Is there any particular theme that utterly triggers you to engage your art with?

As described in earlier questions, the similarity between our development and the process of being a factory product.

What would be the best way to exhibit your work?

My installation work is particularly influenced by the atmosphere of an exhibition space. Considering the characteristic mood and artistic context of my work, I seem to prefer my work to be displayed in an industrial looking space with a large area and a high ceiling. Because I want the installation to be portrayed as if it were part of a factory production line. In such a space, the meaning of my work seems to be better delivered to audiences.

Can you mention any artists you, lately or generally, take inspiration from?

Erwin Wurm.

He transforms existing forms of ordinary objects, bodies, and situations into his work. He studies and attempts diverse social criticisms by destroying the symbolism inherent in the transformations.I have been inspired by the comic elements that appear in the way he expresses the transformation, and the destruction he causes in his works, and I have always thought that the comic gestures he shows are very refined and novel. Also, the concept of sculpture that he presents makes me, as a sculptor, think a lot.

Do you ever wonder if additional work was needed, when an artwork’s making process is finished?

Always so.

I usually produce my work until just before an exhibition opens in which I am involved. Perhaps it is because of my desire to make the work perfect. And I have never thought that I prepared my piece perfectly for an exhibition.  And no matter how perfectly I have produced the works, after they are installed, I find numerous problems and things I’d like to improve. But the funny thing is that other people don’t recognise these issues.

What about the place where you work? What’s your studio space look like?

My studio is located on the second floor and has a very high ceiling of about 5m. Although there are no windows, natural light shines from the ceiling. The work space is surrounded by numerous shelving units, and the units are full of my works and objects. There is a monitor on the desk in the corner, where I usually work on my laptop. And on a little sofa next to the desk, I have a meal or relax. I mostly work on the floor, but when I have to do fine craft work, I do it on the worktable across from the sofa.

What does your mum think about your art?

Because I am based in London, my parents living in Seoul have only seen my work once. My mother always looked at my work in pictures, but when she saw my work in person for the first time, she only praised me. But in fact, it’s still a mystery whether my mom really likes my work or not.

Which exhibition did you visit last?

It has been so long since I have seen an exhibition because of the current pandemic. About November of last year, I went to the opening of the group exhibition ‘Antisocial Isolation’ curated by Delphian Gallery at Saatchi Gallery. Two of my painter friends had participated in the exhibition. The curation of the exhibition and the exhibited works were impressive, and everyone at the opening wore masks which was also impressive.

Which are your plans for the near future?

It is not specific yet, but I think I will be participating in several group exhibitions this year. I will probably spend time developing and creating a new work for the upcoming exhibitions. There is no specific idea yet, but I am going to actively use a 3D printer for my next projects.

Additional Images

Shinuk Suh, ROUND 2, solo exhibition / Beers Gallery, Installation image by Damian Griffiths / Jan. 21′
Shinuk Suh, Biometric syndrome, 2021, Steel, DC motor, controller box, silicone, 130 x 156 x 40 cm
Shinuk Suh, What I Am Made Of (2021), Steel, 100 x 200 cm
Shinuk Suh, ROUND 2, Biometric Syndrome (2020), Steel, DC Motor, Controller Box, Silicone, 130 x 156 x 40 cm


Images courtesy of the artist

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