Magazine article Artforum International

Cody Choi: PKM Gallery

Magazine article Artforum International

Cody Choi: PKM Gallery

Article excerpt

When Cody Choi moved from Seoul to Los Angeles at age twenty-two, he experienced a particularly painful and protracted form of homesickness: Speaking poor English and ill at ease in the radically different social milieu, the artist suffered from frequent nausea. Pepto-Bismol, his preferred antidote--he consumed as much as a bottle a day--became the material of his first significant work: replicas of cliched masterpieces like Rodin's Thinker and the Venus de Milo, all made out of toilet paper soaked in the sick pink, over-the-counter gastrointestinal medication. In the late '90s, he shifted from sculpture to digitally generated painting. The inspiration came from a more heimisch source, namely, his astonishment over the ease with which his young son could draw accomplished pictures on the computer.

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Choi's recent "digital" paintings are lush, but the field of reference is rather more arch than the adventures of a child in the virtual jungle. Each painting bears the title Abstraktes Bild (all works 2003)--just like so many of Gerhard Richter's. The explicit invocation of the lauded, vexing, self-contradictory, exhausting, but never exhausted German clinician of painting's continued possibilities is perverse yet apt in Choi's paintings. The pictures certainly look, initially, perhaps at a distance, very much like Richter's. Bands of acidulous VUTEk ink color stream horizontally and vertically across the canvases (more precisely, mesh mounted on canvas). The obvious inversion inherent in Richter's abstracts is their seemingly mechanistic dissection and desiccation of AbEx gesturalism; it has often been remarked how these paintings somewhat resemble incomplete photo-emulsions even as they are laboriously handcrafted, whereas (yawn) his blurred "photorealist" works are built up from--photographs! …

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