For this iteration of our series In Conversation, we spoke to the three contemporary emerging artists selected by curator Gabi Dao to participate in Blood Love Trouble: Julia Dahee Hong, Katrina Niebergal, and Casey Wei.

JULIA DAHEE HONG

Installation view of Julia Dahee Hong’s ‘Let Me Tell You, They’re All So Sad’

Burrard Arts Foundation: Describe your project for Blood Love Trouble.

Julia Dahee Hong: ‘Let Me Tell You, They’re All So Sad’ (2017) is an installation that involves some inflatable furniture, an aromatherapy diffuser, Claude Deubssy’s ‘Clair de Lune’, and a projected slideshow of black and white images from Google Images using the keywords “Sad Koreans”.

BAF: How did your project arise from the themes curator Gabi Dao was working with, or was it independent from those ideas?

JDH: ‘Let Me Tell You, They’re All So Sad’ is one of three conceptual art pastiches that I have made. This work in particular is a pastiche of Bas Jan Ader’s ‘I’m Too Sad To Tell You’. Previously this work only existed as a slideshow but I made the installation in light of this exhibition. Definitely there are aspects of this installation that were encouraged by Gabi’s curatorial premise.

BAF: What can you tell us about your practice and background as an artist?

JDH: After my BFA, where I majored in Photography, I liberated my practice from medium-specificity and have been exploring other mediums such as performance, sound, and sculpture which allowed for more artistic freedom. I usually make works in waves, usually the waves are calm but sometimes the waves are big, that’s when I make a lot without thinking too much. I have also started writing as a part of my practice and most recently have participated in “Studio for Emerging Writers” at Artspeak led by Sheryda Warrener.

KATRINA NIEBERGAL

Detail of ‘Card Carrying Saint’, installation by Katrina Niebergal

Burrard Arts Foundation: Describe your project for Blood Love Trouble.

Katrina Niebergal: My work, Card Carrying Saint, is a single work in five parts. There is a small pine table with 31 individual, hand-carved, porcelain teeth strewn across it and a bent photograph of a smiling woman in an exuberant gesture of dance pinned beneath one of its legs; there is a pair of homemade, pink-peach satin underwear cast on the concrete floor; another somewhat-weathered photograph—two hooded women—is tucked behind some wires that run the gallery wall; a hooded cloak in the rear-gallery is hung on a peg, a blueberry tendril is caught by its thorns to the grey wool; and there are four additional locks installed on the inside of the gallery’s front door.

Though research is a significant part of my practice and informs my conceptual and material decision-making, knowledge of particular referents and histories are not prerequisites to the apprehension my work. Instead, my work is meant to be only and precisely what it is, as the viewer encounters it: teeth on a table, pink underwear on the floor…My hope is that the viewer looks, reads, and wonders at the materials, their combination and arrangement, their origins.

The sculptural and gestural components that make up Card Carrying Saint are connected and with them I want to suggest the possibility of occurrence; non-linear and non-temporally bound narrative. These objects are, at once, sculpture/installation/artwork situated in a gallery, in a group exhibition, within the particular curatorial framework, etc. yet are also substantiations of a hazy, alternate reality that exists quietly and without immediate conflict within the dominant, the immediate—our temporal reality.

BAF: How did your project arise from the themes curator Gabi Dao was working with, or was it independent from those ideas?

KN: Gabi had seen my work in its early stages in my studio before approaching me with the idea to include it in the exhibition. At the time I was working purposefully on the slowest and most labour-intensive component of the installation—the carving of the teeth—in order to unhurriedly consider the larger work I was imagining—its possible applications and implications; I was still unsure of what the work would ultimately come to be at that point.

The work was conceived of, and operates, separately from the curatorial premise but I was interested in responding to that premise, and especially to the resonance I felt with Taiso Yoshitoshi’s series Fuzoku Sanjuniso (or 32 Aspects of Living) (1888) which Gabi introduced to me, and with her articulated thinking and our intuitive conversations surrounding the site of the female body and the problematics of that body’s general/conventional depictions; a concern we share.

BAF: What can you tell us about your practice and background as an artist?

KN: I am particularly concerned with the nature of affect—with feeling and its translation into language, its residence in objects and materials, its existence beyond the communicable. My practice considers the ways in which transient experience can be distilled into form, and how form can be made to transmit affect. I strive to make work in gentle verisimilitude with the world—works that employ the deft communicative potential of quietness; that acknowledge their own production; that engage with the questions and problems of representation and the idea of mimesis; that are informed by my intuition, memory, experience, and empathy but are unbound to me as a discrete being.

CASEY WEI

One of the monitors displaying Casey Wei’s video work ’69 Years in a Day (every single David Bowie album from start to finish)

 Burrard Arts Foundation: Describe your project for Blood Love Trouble.

 Casey Wei: I have two works; ’69 Years in a Day (every David Bowie album from start to finish)’, and ‘Young Americans’, 2017.  The works function together to reflect on how the tensions between ideas of art/celebrity, process/production, homage/idol worship, life/death have resulted from David Bowie’s death.  69 Years in a Day is me in front of my computer’s camera while listening to every single David Bowie studio album from start to finish.  It was filmed over Christmas Day.  Young Americans 2017 is a karaoke-version of David Bowie’s Young Americans sang by 10 different voices.  The performers were all recorded separately at home, in front of the Youtube karaoke version of the song, and then I cut them together into one track.

BAF: How did your project arise from the themes curator Gabi Dao was working with, or was it independent from those ideas?

CW: It was serendipitous when Gabi approached me.  She has an amazing intuition, and wanted to diverge from a medium specific handling of a Malaspina show.  We talked about printmaking as a production process and as a form of documentation, and I realized this Young Americans project that I had been thinking about doing would be perfectly suited, and it made sense to include 69 Years in a Day to flesh it out, so to speak.

BAF: What can you tell us about your practice and background as an artist?

CW: I’m a visual artist and musician.  My visual art practice comes from a background in video art and film, but has been moving into social, collaborative, and publically engaged practices.  I’m always chasing some idealized unity in my practice, where art and music integrate.  In the past few years, I’ve done two ‘happenings’ projects, one at Kingsgate Mall, and one in Chinatown Centre Mall in Toronto.  Currently, I curate and facilitate the monthly art rock? series at the Astoria, run a small music and printed matter label, agonyklub, and in April am opening up a Karaoke Music Video Free Store at the Unit/Pitt.  The KMVFS is the closest I have been to that utopian joining of art and music, so I’m excited about that.

Work from all three of these artists will be exhibited at Burrard Arts Foundation, 108 E Broadway, as part of the group show Blood Love Trouble until April 1st.