Choi Sori Text
Kim Jongkeun, Art critic
Now, I am going to talk about Choi Sori. But how can I define him? I can’t define him. It’s not just because he is a musician who creates sound but all of his art works have been created through music as if he was possessed. Those who once saw his perfomance shivering toward his gesture crossing air, his music playing and even his drop of sweating and telling “How can’t we love them” praying that he stands more in front of us and finally shout “I Love You Choi Sori!”.
He, who had started his career as a drummer in a rock group named ‘Baekdoosan’, appeared with art pieces. He seemed to be silent for some time since he opened a private exhibition at Topohaus long time ago. That soloist of percussion instrument, Choi Sori suddenly came back. Even be accompanied huge amount of works enough to fill 4 floors of Kimbosung Art Center with several hundreds of art pieces. However, he asked others never call him a painter despite such great art works.
He is instinctively an art of sound creater. It’s because beating of Choi Sori and its echoing art is a gesture to call spirits, desires toward sounds and even a seeker for unlimited sounds. Those who have heard his music even once want to enter a degree of ‘See sound’ that means ‘Seeing sound’ by themselves. His percussion art therefore is mysterious, unfamiliar and even sometimes deeply moving.
Now we cast a question in front of his several hundreds of art pieces unfolded by his beating. Are these really an art? If it’s true, how much are they worth? And what relations between music and art exist?
Most distinctively, his works are born by percussion playing on metal plate or paper. And these are echo of sounds and their trace made by beating rather than painting. Therefore, a feast consisting of red, blue, yellow and sometimes mixed colors is included by a sort of performance and acting art. And such performance is completed by untouched traces as they exsit, painting colors or making scratches on them. Sometimes, they are very energetic just like rough step or lofty, calm or very feelingly like violent shouting.
One of clear things among all these movements is that they are completed sequentially starting from sound to pure artistic gesture. These behaviors might have something disputable just like the case that Marcel Duchamp had put a toilet on an exhibition space. However, those issues are antique in modern art history and happened even 100 years ago. Therefore, traces that are beaten, cut and drawn out are byproducts of pertormance and also very artistic results.
In early time, a performance artist, Picabia would have created very stylish art pieces naming ‘Music is just an art’. Like this, crossing points between music and art are also discoverd from video art by Nam june Paik to Fluxus, a new wave of Avant Garde which disrupts bounderies of art since Marcel Duchamp.
Like such video art that is a crystalline body created by a new combination with music and art, Choi Sori has created a new type of art where sound becomes art. Compared with this, the fact that Mondrian had drawn a series of ‘Boogie Woogie’ after he saw a Jazz and deeply impressed by it in Manhattan in New York is not a new trend in art anymore.
What is clear is that rhythm and melody is a magical medicine to move people’s heartstrings. Therefore, provided that artistic start of Choi Sori shows both performance and procedures where music is changing into abstract arts, it is kind of Dada and innovative.
“All objects in this world have their own distinctive sounds. I will embrace them in my heart and play new sounds through communication of life and continue to explore them. This album consists of sounds created by me while I feel power of life and unlimited power by spending last several years and seeing, feeling and contacting numerous objects.“ Choi Sori’s this biographical confess clearly presents how far his sounds have spread.
All performing acts that he bangs on metal plate just like beating drum in music are new creative and avant-garde activities which completely disrupted expression types of arts. Just like that such performance is a Fluxus movement, carving dynamic elements on metal plate is very distinctive as if it suggested past, contemporary and even future of art at once while such art shows formative beauty in front side orignated by traditional aesthetic beauty. In other words, Choi Sori is believed to be successful to build a meeting of music and art inside 3-dimensional space while he expresses conceptual world discussed in 2-dimensions as a place, which was just a slogan before.
To some degree, as we know from the fact that Joseph Beuys had argued “Audible elements and sculptural characteristic in art are core elements to me.”, his art working attitude is believed to contribute to let sound in production of art pieces to actually transcend it. As Pierre Schaeffer defined “All sounds are images of an event”, painting of sounds from Choi Sori casts a critical question on us. It question us “Can this also become a painting?”.
I’d like to quote an interview of the video artist, Nam June Paik for answer to the above question. He said “I solved 3-dimensional issues by touchable painting. This was started from 1966 and then came true slowly after 3 years. Visual musical notes are drawn by ink. I started to draw sound painting just by touching it seeing nothing and closing eyes. When I tear it down and art piece disappears, then art in completed. There is an empty circle on paper surface whose size is equivalent to that of human body and there illusions are spreading endlessly and then shows space and sound. I hear sounds of my foot steps left and recorded on monumental painting. “It’s true. Art works of Choi Sori are very mch like agony, expressions and creativeness of Nam June Paik.
Just as text is expression of language, language is also image. And such language is primitive. Music also expresses something. Now, what is left is whether or not harmonization in Choi Sori’s painting is realized on his canvas. However, Choi Sori believes that such harmonization is important just by itself in fantastic type of performance and all are valuable and exist. Therefore, correlations between something visual and acoustic are all activated and consequently various shapes and colors of hundreds pieces are born. So, his art works are all created just like extemporaneous symphony. If someone discovers a moment of absolute and unpredictable affect from some of his art pieces, it would be because of such things.
Sound of Choi Sori come to have visual characteristics via eyes rather than something audible. Just like that visual things leave spaces for freedom and rationality, Choi Sori came to acquire freedom by turning eyes back to Korea’s traditional music beyond limits on expression by drums. And such things are believed to be transferred to arts in order to transcend or overcome a world of such sounds. Passion that he intends to create sounds that are alive as if they are seen through eyes grabbing talking point of limitation on drum sounds, echo and sound is an artistic spirit that Choi Sori lastly reached.
His sound exploration as if he cultivated himself morally or religiously in a mud hut and his humor & generosity saying “If I lost my auditory acuity completely, I would have heard imaginary sounds better” and “This makes me more comfortable” although he suffers from hearing impairment several years ago. I really like it.
I had to visit his working room even three times located at a suburb of Seoul in order to write this critique. It’s because of his amazing styles that he produces art works too unpredictably spending several nights on works. I am going to finish this writing by recollecting his performance and sounds.
I, in front of his amazing art pieces, found out that Ah, sounds can also become language of arts at last. Likewise, like Lucio Fontana an Italian painter and sculptor who created a concept of space by making efforts in order to make something endless something visual and also created unique plane by cutting and tearing down canvers, Choi Sori would be recorded as a rare painter who created art using sounds.