• Jackson Hong, Upset, Installation View, ONE AND J. Gallery

    Jackson Hong, Upset, Installation View, ONE AND J. Gallery

  • Jackson Hong, Upset, Installation View, ONE AND J. Gallery

    Jackson Hong, Upset, Installation View, ONE AND J. Gallery

  • Jackson Hong, Upset, Installation View, ONE AND J. Gallery

    Jackson Hong, Upset, Installation View, ONE AND J. Gallery

  • Jackson Hong, Upset, Installation View, ONE AND J. Gallery

    Jackson Hong, Upset, Installation View, ONE AND J. Gallery

  • Jackson Hong, Upset, Installation View, ONE AND J. Gallery

    Jackson Hong, Upset, Installation View, ONE AND J. Gallery

The works shown at the artist’s solo exhibition, “Upset” held at ONE AND J. Gallery looked at first glance like a collection of some science fiction or humorous gadgets. However, upon closer inspection and contemplation, the works ask serious questions about the innate facts of one’s life and explores the search of our human condition and how we survive in a modern society. The artist has attempted to bring a critical approach to issues of humanity, communication and social class through technology. He wants to look back on how we live our lives in a society filled with other people and explores the diverse levels of communications that are required to live in our world. Most of the artworks come with his own detailed personal experiences. For example, his work “Masked Citizen X” comes from his personal experience of avoiding people and personal relationships because of his atopic dermatitis.
While the initial concepts of his works start from his personal experiences they are not limited to these. The broader themes of his work are related to our society in that everyone, to some extent, wear their own masks to survive. The above mentioned work, “Masked Citizen X” is machine that can make facial expressions for people who cannot control their countenances well. People who put on this mask are able to have stress free countenance interaction whenever they want as long as they wear the mask.
However, the rather simple expressions or “emoticons” emitted by the mask does not reflect the person’s feelings. As such, it rather simplifies the communication between people in a more utopian way in contrast to the complex nature of today’s communication systems. The work “Reactive Hair X” contains knives fixed to a helmet resembling Medusa’s head of snakes and the work “Iron Chair X” has knives affixed to the edge of the chair. Both were created to address matters of communication between the artist and other people and are aggressive commentaries on the stresses and inability to deal with certain uncomfortable or frustrating social settings.
Through these works, the artist does not want to show us efficiency in the functional furniture sense for the installation. Rather, the artist wishes to talk about more philosophical and essential questions related to the issues of how we influence each other in contemporary society. In a world where functional product design and technology is actively coveted and highly valued, Jackson Hong makes useless interfaces for the practical modern world. His utilization of technology for these conceptual purposes is a unique way to express his attitude and powerfully disturbs a world so accustomed to valuing attention to design, function and exchange.
Text excerpted from ONE AND J. catalogue essay by Kim Hee Kyung

Jackson Hong (b. 1972) lives and works in Seoul, Korea and is a product designer and artist inventor. After receiving his B.F.A and M.F.A. from Seoul National University’s Department of Visual and Industrial Design program, he worked at Samsung Motors as a designer. After Samsung Motors, he completed his M.F.A. in three dimensional design from the Cranbrook Academy and worked at ECCO Design Inc. in New York. Rather than creating mere industrial design, the artist has shown us work that is more closely regarded as conceptual art. His artwork can be described as special “systems” that ask many questions concerning our everyday situations and social values ? questions people unintentionally rarely seem to ask in these fast paced modern times we live in.