Make Room’s booth at the 2022 Art Brussels presents the work of Jacopo Pagin and Guimi You in conversation.
The practices of Pagin and You are concerned with the crosscultural history of painting as a medium, as well as the investigation of modern existence and mysticism through such historical lenses.
Guimi You’s practice is informed by her training in both San-su hwa (traditional Korean painting) and Western oil painting. Her works combine the influence of feminists surrealists like Leonora Carrington with the vast plein air landscapes of Korean silk painters like Jeong Seon. Jacopo Pagin’s limpid canvases are rife with nods to Venetian colorito and Mannerist figuration, inspirations gleaned from his training at the Accademia in Venice. His compositions are shot through with a delicate surrealism evocative of Leonor Fini’s dream-like sketched figures or Cocteau’s sensuous line drawings. While You’s female figures comment upon the Sublime vastness of landscapes– often dwarfed by their colorful expanses– Pagin’s characters become part of the landscape, their heads melded into the surf and the rock faces, bringing to mind pagan goddesses of nature. As You’s own technique finds itself at an intersection of Easten and Western technique, so too does Pagin’s leitmotifs evoke a cross cultural dimension: his works often contain within them decorated fans or Chinese patterns, which, combined with his deeply learned techniques, simultaneously evoke and subvert the craze of Orientalism in 18th-century European art.
Jacopo PaginMadama B, 2022 Oil and acrylic on canvas
66 7/8 x 47 1/4 in
170 x 120 cm
Guimi YouSolano Studio, 2021 Oil on linen
40 x 36 inches
101.6 x 91.4 cms
Though deeply indebted to established styles and practices, You and Pagin both confront their subjects from a wholly contemporary perspective. You’s intense color palettes are drawn from the digital, her initial designs taking shape on iPad software. Her practice is intensely intuitive and personal, drawn from real life, which makes her dreamlike interventions– a maw of pitch blackness enveloping a canvas; a colorless figure pasted into a lush landscape like a glitch on the canvas; a curl of steam morphing into a toy snake– all the more surreal; Pagin’s interventions of abstraction into his paintings is accompanied by his use of a mise-en-scéne, composed of sonic art and installation. These installations are approached in a dense, philosophical manner, by which the paintings function as a “time machine” through which the artist can– in his own words– “reuse and reinterpret the gestures and techniques of the past to continually re-identify myself through diverse means.”
Pagin’s conceptual rigor is a thought-provoking foil to You’s sensuous directness, and yet these two artists create rich work which interrogates the intersections between the self and nature, and the self and artistic practice.
Make Room’s booth with Pagin and You is dedicated to present in Brussels, a city which is both a cradle for painters such as Paul Delvaux and Théo van Rysselberghe as well as conceptualists such as Marcel Broodthaers, all informed by the deep and complex history of art practice and presentation. With their deep and thoughtful journeys into the wildernesses of art practice, style, and history, Jacopo Pagin and Guimi You are worthy acolytes of these masters.
The practice of Guimi You (b. 1985 in Seoul, lives and works in Albany, Calif.) is informed by her training in both traditional Korean portrait and landscape painting and oil painting. Her work combines the lucidity and richness of both traditions, resulting in canvases reveling in the beauty of natural environments and the communication of joy through pigment. You’s paintings blend and blur reality and daydreams with a sense of magical realism. They astound in their intimacy and playfulness. You received her MA in painting from the Royal College of Art, London in 2014, and holds a BFA and an MFA in Korean portraiture and landscape art (San-su hwa) from Seoul National University, Korea in 2008 and 2011. Her work is in the public collections of the Museum of Art, Seoul National University; the ICA Miami; the Columbus Museum of Art; the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; and the College of Fine Arts, Seoul National University.
Jacopo Pagin (b. 1988 in Italy, lives and works in Brussels) is an artist whose multidisciplinary practice investigates the tessellation of aesthetic forms through natural and psychological avenues. Using paintings as a base, his work spans sound installation, sculpture, and performance, constructing mise-en-scene in which narratives concerning the dichotomies at play within art historical and cultural contexts are established. Pagin received his MFA in Fine Arts from LUCA in Brussels in 2015, and holds a degree in Painting and Decoration from the Accademia di Belle Arti in Venice. Select exhibitions include Manifesta XIII, Marseille (“Anima Mundi”), Castello Malaspina di Massa Carrara (“Thaumazein”), and Everyday Gallery, Antwerp (“Crystal Whisper”). Pagin participated in the 2019 South Way Studio residency in Marseille.