by Jane Sojin Kim
Don’t bluntly call it a “compilation of books” when standing in front of the zines present at the Show/Tell Pop-up Shop at Satellite Gallery, for this is more than a series of “texts-on-paper.” Imagine it to be a graffiti art form, a mural or even a performance piece, guiding the passersby (readers) into a surreal space of creativity. Each zine evokes a sense of ambiguity and wonder that transcends the pre-conceived definition of a book. Drawings (preciously done by artists) in the zines act as exuberant texts running through page after page without a pause, but such flow is worth repeated contemplating. For your trip to Satellite, please bring a sense of wonder and imagination to encounter the zines!
Some of the zines, like Oops Fantasy (shown above), are full of collaged images. The uncanny characters dance and wander their way through the presented images are brisk and alert as though they have awakened from a bizarre dream—the holistic image is full of creative tension, synchronizing the playful and inventive exchange between the artists and the reader. It conveys beautiful and cloy depictions of a thought-provoking visual experience.
One of the pieces presented on a plinth especially calls up my attention. It is the piece that gets the question: is this a book? Crafted by Robert Ondzik, Yurt (2012) stands independently on a plinth as if it were a sculpture. As readers, we must walk around it, take a closer look and feel the tactility of the material used, in order to create our own story. Yurt is an expression of “nomadic traveller,” in which a personal memory of being in a space (a reconstruction of Bill Coperthwaite’s yurt in Maine) translates into an art form which could later be narrated by different voices (meaning the viewers). The work is located next to a photograph from Satellite’s current exhibition, Dorothy. By playing with the idea of creating art out of paper (by folding, reconstructing, adding, subtracting from its original surface), both Myfanwy McLeod and Ondzik communicate nostalgia, memory, and concepts of storytelling. Yurt escapes the physical locale and limits of a book and transcends into what we, as visual practitioners, refer to as perceptual freedom.