“In the face of the hypervisibility of social networks, people are starting to talk about the right to be forgotten and the need to disappear”.
Ingrid Guardiola, “El ojo y la navaja. Un ensayo sobre el mundo como interfaz” (2018).
Every day of our lives we encounter a great number of beings, countless objects, spaces and situations. We experience a multitude of feelings and experiences from which we make a selection (consciously or unconsciously) in order to save them somewhere in our memory. Sometimes, it is not so easy to retain memories intact in the long term and the mind can create false ones. But what does it mean to say that they are “false”? That perhaps a memory that is the result of abstraction and the reconstruction of memory is less real than one that has had the good fortune (or not) to remain frozen in a video or photograph on a mobile device?
Today, the authenticity of facts, people and things seems to live in a relationship of direct dependence on representation and public approval. And this public sphere is no longer possible without the links of the digital society. Values, morality and meanings mutate at the same pace as the technological device, forcing us to question our role within this “new” machinery, without ever forgetting all our previous references.
Grip Face (David Oliver, Palma, 1989) and Miju Lee (South Korea, 1982) are part of the so-called “Generation Y” (also known as “millennials”), and it is from this generational (but culturally different) position that the two creators generate their respective artistic discourses. Immersed in an environment in which the online and offline worlds coexist without very marked boundaries, the so-called “lost generation” has experienced and developed in the freedom offered by the post-internet era. Social networks have been the breeding ground for a new way of life and a new form and meaning of the verb “to share”.
At a time when our behavior, lifestyle, interactions, tastes, expectations are so marked by digital content, there is little room to escape from the pretense and the game of appearances of the screens. In this sense, Miju Lee carries out a difficult personal and artistic exercise through which she refuses in a very particular way this way of living, focusing on collecting the most spontaneous of her own life and letting herself be carried away by that which is fortuitous. Her paintings and ceramics are only governed by the rules of her own imagination, without any kind of arrogance and from the deepest subjectivity. “Table of the day” is the large window of this exhibition, which, like a peephole, allows us to peer into the artist’s universe: her desk, her “own room”. A seemingly arbitrary mixture of everyday and dreamlike elements: plants, pencils, matches, plugs, eloquent faces, a dog and a cat. The play of proportions, superimposed planes, colors and geometric shapes force us to stop for a moment in order to be able to identify all the strokes, objects and complicit insinuations. Otherwise, we can also play around to find out the meaning of its own ecosystem, and we can recreate ourselves to connect with each one of the pieces, this time from our own everyday life. Slow observation is an essential requirement with Miju Lee’s work: only in this way will we be able to appreciate all the details, however small and subtle they may be. It is also the starting point for the artist: the contemplation of the reality that surrounds her, a curious, meticulous and natural exercise, in which a sense of humor and sincerity are the main axes that articulate her particular artistic language.
In the same way, Grip Face’s work is based on the critical and meticulous observation of today’s world, in which the immediacy and superficiality of social networks determine our behavior and condition our private lives and the way we relate to others and to ourselves. The installation “Digital Anxiety” invites us to question ourselves and reflect on our own image and identity, both in the physical world and in the virtual environment. Is the interface and the new iconic grammar the future of the neoliberal capitalist project? Is it possible to discern between the intimate and the globally accessible? Let’s try it out and place ourselves in front of a common mirror. Let’s take a close look at our faces for more than five seconds. Over time, the discomfort and confusion of looking at oneself increases, but spending more time in real contexts is also, and only, a matter of practice.
Miju Lee and Grip Face share this need for introspection and both demonstrate a great capacity to explore the various forms of self-awareness. After their joint artist residency in Mallorca between January and April 2023 at La BIBI Gallery, which resulted in the tandem exhibition “Find an Offline Shelter” in Paris, Miju and Grip Face reveal the complementary ways in which their work dialogues with each other. C.O is the place where their hands meet: Miju Lee’s desk is now filled up with their shared memories. Like an everyday altar, Miju’s yetis share space with Grip’s masks, and it seems they have always done so. The juxtaposition of their visions, hybridizations and winks plunge us back into the spiral of everyday uncertainties, hopes and fears of our hyper-connected lives and reveal the need to continue exploring ways to better understand who we are and who we would like to be.