/Plexus/, low-iron glass, silver nitrate, light bulbs, lacquer, 2013. Courtesy of the artist and Kukje Gallery, Seoul, South Korea.

Michael Joo exhibition: 'Transparency Engine'

Moot Gallery

Hong Kong, Hong Kong S.A.R., China

292 Tai Po Road

The glass sculptural works of artist Michael Joo will be unveiled for the first time in Asia in a solo exhibition presented by SCAD Hong Kong. The exhibition, "Transparency Engine," will showcase the Korean-American artist’s contemporary approach to sculpture, which explores concepts of identity and social control.

Joo’s choice of artworks in "Transparency Engine" was directly influenced by the architectural history of SCAD’s Moot Gallery. The gallery is housed in the former North Kowloon Magistracy building, a structure that, for decades, represented municipal and colonial law enforcement. The exhibition engages with the history of the space, creating significant dialogues with the past on identity, social space and the complex relationship between the two. 

A group of sculptures titled "Plexus" forms the core of "Transparency Engine." Glass riot shields, their handles removed, line a gallery wall, creating a screen of mirrors in which viewers see themselves reflected. The sculptures themselves are a study in contraction: Their abstract and fragile elegance is juxtaposed with the memory of their prior function as objects of law enforcement and social regulation. The coexistence of these narratives within one form encourages contemplation of socially imposed boundaries as they relate to identity formation. 

Another highlight of the exhibition is "Farmers & Merchants," a series of silvered Pyrex forms that appropriate the shape of ropes and stanchions commonly found in banks, nightclubs and customs areas. While the work is fixed, the reflective surface gives it a certain fluid character. This formal contradiction echoes a figurative one: a functionless art object that recalls a functional demarcation of social space. "Because the binary relationship implied by these ‘dividing lines’ is too simplistic in contemporary society," elaborated Joo, "I think of the mirrored surfaces of the work to be inclusive, implicating both sides and pointing to a third space."

This exhibition is organized by Laurie Ann Farrell, SCAD executive director of exhibitions.

Reception: Friday, May 16, 7-8 p.m.

Gallery hours: Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Free transportation to and from SCAD Hong Kong will be provided. Buses will depart the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, 1 Expo Drive, Wan Chai, at 7:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., and return transportation departs once at 9:15 p.m.

The exhibition and reception are free and open to the public.