Feat. David B. Jang
Welcome to the audio tour for Endomorphism. This exhibit features Los Angeles based artist David B. Jang who works primarily in electronic and kinetic sculptures made from everyday materials. You might be wondering to yourself what Endomorphism means. To paraphrase the artist, Endomorphism is a fancy way to describe the constant state of transformation. Its significance in that regard is that the transforming and transferring of energy is a constant in nature. We are all changing and transforming through our lives. Are bodies are aging till the point where they cannot rejuvenate, and then we die and return to the dust. We are mortal. Although this may seem morbid, it this time limitation and that gives our lives meaning. Hence the bucket list, or the list of things you would like to do before you die. It this theme of transformation that runs through this exhibition.
The following are Jang's thoughts on his approach to making work as an artist.
For me, my main research of study for what I do as an artist, I am very fascinated with how metal and energy can be continuously transferred and transformed. They cannot be destroyed or created, but only transfer and transform. It’s just like our body, you know, when you eat food it gets digested and transferred and transforms into blood. Your skin, bone, and flesh, and muscle. And then you are able to walk, move, and that actually makes kinetic energy, motion. Pretty much anything and everything around us that we experience every day are in a constant state of transferring and transforming. When I was a kid, one of the most amazing installation art I’ve ever experienced was the cloud. Cloud is one of the gas form and it requires very specific temperature and the gravity, and cloud is able to continuously transform. It’s been existing on the Earth ever since the Earth has evolved and eventually it will continuously be there. And the most beneficial and crucial part about cloud is having the transfer and transform into a rain. Which, the rain is necessary for all the living organisms on this earth, and I believe this type of principle is what I can do and what I think it’s really beneficial as an artist to continuously research and study.
Upon entering RAFFMA’s lobby you will be greeted by Jang’s first installation of this exhibit, Compression Panorama. Comprised of air compressed plastic bottles, a vibrating electric motor, custom circuit board and motion sensor, and with that this installation responds to your presence. The following are a few of Jang’s thoughts on the nature of this piece.
I came to this gallery space last year around February, and when I saw this structure I immediately thought, “Oh, I could utilize this for something”. And these bottles are basically just regular gallon sized water bottle, but they’re air compressed, closed really tight, and I used a heat gun to kind of soften up the plastic material on them and slowly blow up like a balloon. And each of the bottles are connected to a vibrating electric motor. Your cellphone has a vibration capability, which vibration means like usually notify you with something when you get a message or some sort. When your car shakes for airplane shakes you get alert notification.
I personally appreciate this parallel between the vibration alert we all are familiar with through our phones and how it is inherently a sensation that bring you to attention. I think this works placement at entrance to the museum is also very fitting.
Much of Jang’s installation work is modular, in that it can be expanded or contracted to fit within new environments. In this line he is very considerate of the architecture that his work is to become a part of, and utilizes the unique elements found in the architecture of our gallery to his advantage.
As you proceed into the hallway known as the Ellis Gallery you will be flanked by some of Jang’s two dimensional works. Electric Contours one through four, each represent different spectrum's of color. Jang acquires these mass produced objects brand new, then he submerges these sheets of aluminum in salt water and runs an electric current through them. This causes the surface of the work to deteriorate and destabilize, and for the surfaces that are painted to crack and flake paint off. The first of these has no paint, and shows the raw effects of the electrical current that was passed through them. The second shows the color spectrum that is found in your television, the third is the spectrum of colors found on the resistors of a circuit board. The last is a spectrum of colors associated with warning signs, consider the colors you might find at a construction site.
At the end of the hallway you will find Jang’s sound installation, Aerial Wave. One of Jang’s primary interests is the idea of capturing energy in its different forms. Aerial Wave is an excellent example of how the unseen energy around us is harnessed in Jang’s work. The sculpture is comprised of conduit, electrical boxes and outlets, and each of the electrical boxes house radio transmitters. These radio transmitters are connected to a custom circuit board that will continuously change radio stations. Like Jang’s other installation, Aerial Wave is activated by your presence through a motion sensor. One of the more interesting components to this sculpture is the way it changes from location to location. When Jang was testing this work, he was doing so at his studio in Los Angeles. When he installed it here in San Bernardino and museum he said that work sounded very different. This is because the radio waves in the area are different from the ones around his studio. This creates an element of site specification.
Jang’s approach to sculpture:
The following is Jang’s approach to sculpture.
The traditional idea of sculpture is to either chisel, carve, or add something to make a defined three dimensional form, but my idea will be using complete found materials to cut into a space and sculpting the space to activate the space, because I think it’s important for an audience, or even myself to have more personal interactions and dialogue with physically, and even with hearing, visual, all the senses experience we can connect.
The final room of the exhibition houses Jang’s on-going installation work Prevaricate (extended). Please feel free to enter this space and interact with its elements. This work is made from your house hold electric fan, trimmer line, a CPU fan, steel, wire, custom circuit board and motion sensor. This work captures kinetic energy. As you step into the gallery it comes to life with all 36 fans spinning for a few seconds. As the fans spin the wire attached to the fans and floor winds up. Once the fans stop spinning, the energy stored in the twisted wire will unwind spinning the fans the opposite direction until they stop. After all the fans spin together, they will proceed to spin in sections, once the last section spins, the cycle starts again. Incorporating the principal of rhythm.
We got to ask Jang about his inspiration as an artist and the following is his response
I think in beginning would be cloud, our everyday life. Something that we don’t tend to notice or appreciate it. But how I’m noticing the transformation and material from the nature, and convert that into our life. I don’t believe humans can create anything, we can only retransfer and reconfigure, reform them. All the materials we use is from nature, like whether it’s a plastic or glass, it’s all from nature, we just utilize a temperature aspect to kind of bring them down to liquid form and recast them, remodel everything. All these principles that we are interacting is from all the nature so, I like to look at them both, how our society tends to manipulate this nature medium versus how nature itself does its own. There’s an awesome, really interesting, relationship between the order and disorder. Disorder, we call it something like entropy production and the orders are usually found in a living organism. What we humans do, when we eat food and you know our body continuously keeps things in order and when you go to your house’s living room you constantly want to organize things.
Here are some concluding words from Jang to consider as you enjoy his exhibition.
I’m just here to do my own research and study and put this project on the spotlight and let the audience see and experience differently on their own perspective and formulating their own thought process.
Narrated by: Diego R. Irigoyen Education and Collections Coordinator, RAFFMA