Glorious Magnificent

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photography: Kate Bowen

Glorious Magnificent

The Mana Contemporary building, like many buildings of its kind, has been through several changes. Most recently transitioning from a moving and storage company to artist’s studios and a contemporary arts center. The building itself is solid and unwieldy, brick and mortar, and towering in its place without neighboring buildings. The exterior is unaltered and the radio tower, a feature specific to its first tenants, remains as a monument to its origins. A building, if it could measure time, might measure it in eras of occupancy rather than years. Change coming to its structure without warning and without its permission. Its purpose and meaning shifting with each new inhabitant, all of who create a physical trace of their presence in the material changes made to the structure.

Jiyoung Yoon draws from her own experience as an emerging artist who often finds herself moving in between and negotiating new places, languages, and communities to explore her desire for permanence despite a career that necessitates adaptability. For Glorious Magnificent she creates an installation and objects that suggest the concept of landing or finding a singular place and purpose while simultaneously evoking the characteristics of the nomad, who travels continually with no settled home finding what they need in each temporary location. The exhibition is held in Jiyoung’s studio on the fourth floor of the Mana building, which is a provisional storage space she used while awaiting the construction of new studios. Here, she has found some stable ground in a place that has an unsettled future, as it will be demolished shortly after she vacates the space at the end of this month. Like the building and the studio, Jiyoung herself is unsettled and at a moment of transition. The date of the exhibition, July 10th, is doubly significant, marking the artist’s 30th birthday and the expiration date of her visa.

These two events, the culturally imposed threshold of adulthood and the termination of residency, are inevitable and definitive changes in her life that punctuate her time in Chicago as an artist and as a part of a community. In a tribute to the desire to mark and celebrate these moments of transition the work in Glorious Magnificent is created from the materials left over from her time in the U.S. By reusing the remnants of past work she adapts what remains into something different and offers these new objects as parting gifts to the community she will have to leave; objects that are materially transformed and sent out to find a new place to land. Glorious Magnificent will take place in the storage space on the fourth floor of Mana Contemporary on July 10, but will only be viewable in the most nomadic form, as images online from July 11.

written by Kate Bowen