Michael Joo’s artworks investigate concepts of identity and knowledge in a hybridized contemporary world. Joo’s artwork addresses disparate elements such as science and religion, nature and human intervention, fact and fiction, as well as high and low culture. His work investigates the coexistence of willpower and inevitability within nature and human culture. Joo contrasts the notion of artistic intentionality versus chance happenings or accidents and these serve as both thematic concepts and constructs.
Using a range of materials and media in provocative ways, Joo addresses humanity’s various states of knowledge and culture, questioning the fluid nature of identity while prompting his audience to consider how and why we perceive the world as we do. In his sculptures and installations he has re-created rope stanchions from metal to glass, rendered crystals to into metallic forms, cut apart and reconfigured antlers among many other transformations of natural objects to manmade outcomes.
Within performance and video works he swam through a ton of MSG, waited in the wild for elk to lick salt off of his body, and walked against the flow of crude oil along the Trans Alaskan Pipeline.
Select solo and group exhibitions include: the Menil Collection, Texas; Serpentine Gallery, London; Whitney Museum of American Art, N.Y.; Rodin Gallery (Samsung Foundation), Seoul; and MIT’s List Visual Arts Center, Massachusetts. In 2001, Joo represented Korea at the Venice Biennale, and Bodhi Obfuscatus (Space Baby) won grand prize at the 2006 Gwangju Biennial; and in 2012, Blain Southern, London, presented the substantial solo show Exit From The House Of Being. Select collections include: Guggenheim Museum, N.Y.; Museum of Modern Art, N.Y.; Whitney Museum of American Art, N.Y.; and the Samsung Foundation for Art and Culture, Seoul.