The Korean word “친구,” or “Chingu,” describes a particular kind of relationship. “Friend” doesn’t quite cut it; it’s a kind of closeness between those similar in age, for example classmates, colleagues, or neighbors. In an eponymous group show which marks the third collaboration between 47 Canal and the LA gallery Commonwealth and Council, kinship between space, identity, and concept is on display.
Scored by Julie Tolentino’s stunning track “SLIPPING INTO DARKNESS” (2019), in which natural sounds descend into tinny metallic ringing and are later overlaid with recordings from the New York subway, a major artery of the exhibition explores the clash between the natural and the technological. Anicka Yi’s Nuit de Cellophane (2014/2020) [pictured] includes 66 DVDs that slice into the gallery wall at irregular intervals, like a grotesque pantomime of mushrooms on a tree trunk; honey drips viscously down from the top layers and onto the floor like sickly sweet pus from a wound. Elle Pérez’s silver gelatin print Palm (2021) seems to reimagine a plant as a whipping blade, and P. Staff’s Piss Boys (2021) works contain hair, bones, ash, seagrass, and fingernails. Fittingly for a collaboration between the programs of two galleries located in major cities direly threatened by global warming, their holographic video work flashes the words “planetary dysphoria” like an alarm.
Anicka Yi, Nuit de Cellophane, 2014. 66 DVDs, honey, dimensions variable. Image courtesy of the artist and 47 Canal, New York. Photo: Joerg Lohse.