Hangjun Lee: Nebula Rising

Recently we went to the Private view of Hangjun Lee’s solo show at Christine Park Gallery in London’s Fitzrovia. The exhibition consists of 3 rooms with the key pieces being Film Drying Wheel (2015) and the dual projection Nebula Rising (2007 – ongoing). The show runs until the 11th of April.

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Film Drying Wheel, 2015 Wood (kit), 16mm film strips

Further information can be found in the press release:

Christine Park Gallery is proud to present the first UK solo exhibition of Korean filmmaker Hangjun Lee. The exhibition will include a dual screen 16mm projection of Lee’s film Nebula Rising, and accompanying film-related materials.

Film is an extended medium of either 16mm or 35mm diameters in width. Each film has a specific weight, thickness and length that depends on its duration. To measure the mass and volume of film, we can use gallons (gal), kilograms (kg), milligrams (mg), grams (g), and litres (l). Measurements of filmic material are technological realities but do not necessarily define what we call the cinematic; we only need a projector to see (like mammals) that which has been growing every day on para-filmic material since the 13th century, as Hollis Frampton briefly wrote in For a Metahistory of Film (1971). It is not only the celluloid but many materials that pass through the projector, however. The perforations used for transporting and steadying the images are a clue to show that this is film material.

The Nebula Rising series is about tensile strengths of base and thickness of emulsion of film material. In the history of artisanal cinema we increasingly find meaningful practices like the Schmelzdahin group in Germany; erosion and permeation of chemical agents such as potassium and sodium produce a relentless archaeological and alchemical object of visual reference. The visual textbook is profound; we can see cracked and reticulated patterns, separations and concretions like mud cracks and salt lakes, and old handmade paper from mulberry trees. But this is just one element of the massive undertaking of making film (though I do not wish to mystify the universal image of the filmmaker). It is however, more like the science of dust, the rule of all time-consuming acts, which I cannot stop pursuing.

Filmmakers and archivists convert the thickness, length and weight of film into time. Through filmmaking and archiving a feeling for film’s physical substance develops, time-conscious becomes tangible; observing the material is the same as watching the clock. As per Gilbert Simondon’s text, Du Mode D’existence des Objets Techniques (1958), the enslavement of labour(ers) through repetitive practice has contributed in making the manipulation of material and shape in natural accordance more ambiguous. Repeated futile efforts and the chain reaction of experience through time meet in an antiphonal action whereby material and shape become transparent. The abstracted images revealed despite the velocity of the chemical agents are residual of the labourer’s experience. (Hangjun Lee, February 2015)

The exhibition is also supported by the Arts Council Korea.

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Nebula Rising, down sized 16mm film (originally 35mm), colour, optical sound, 9min

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