Tom Sachs enters Korea with art at three different venues
Tom Sachs, the 55-year-old American artist with an imagination rivaling that of a 5-year-old, in a good way, is making his grand entrance in Korea with solo retrospectives at three art venues in the heart of Seoul.
In three separate themes, Sachs presents his sculptures and paintings at the Art Sonje Center, HYBE Insight (a museum inside the headquarters of boy band BTS’s agency in central Seoul) and art gallery Thaddaeus Ropac Seoul.
This is Sachs’ first time holding any solo show in Korea.
Sachs is best known for his sculptures, encompassing a fictional space project dubbed an “indoctrination center” that reflects the artist’s lifelong fascination with the field and a series of boomboxes of all shapes and sizes. Paintings that can be turned into non-fungible tokens (NFTs) can be seen in one of the exhibitions as well.
His artworks are all centered on three principles — “spirituality, sensuality and stuff” — Sachs said during a press event last week. Sachs uses motifs closely related to the United States, such as the American flag and pop culture icons like the Simpsons, Yoda and NASA.
As for his sculptures in the “Space Program: Indoctrination” exhibition at Art Sonje Center, they resemble bricolage science projects students typically make in school. His creation of the space project involves a step-by-step algorithm of sorting out different sheet metal screws and machines that re-enact rockets flying into space. He has even designated serial numbers on everything related to the project.
“Yes, I have my serial number tattooed on my body,” Sachs said, showing the numbers “2007153” tattooed on the inside of his lower lip. “This is my commitment to my database of the studio — I’m the 153rd thing made in 2007. I’m committed to sculpture; it’s my life. I want my archivist to know that I mean it with my body as well as with my soul.”
When asked why he made the exploration of space the focus of his work, Sachs said that it’s because it’s “encompassing.”
“I’ve been exploring space in my artworks for over 30 years,” he said. “Our bodies are weak, but we’re connected with a bunch of larger forces we don’t understand, and my goal is to expand the consciousness beyond its current state of understanding, so that I can draw greater connections behind other things.
“We do that through faith,” Sachs continued. “Because we believe we can do it and we believe we can achieve the impossible. In other words, if you want to save the world, believe you can and you just might. Mic drop!”
Sachs' solo shows continue through the following dates: "Space Program: Indoctrination" at Art Sonje Center until Aug. 7; "Boombox Retrospective" at HYBE Insight until Sept. 11; and "Rocket Factory Paintings" at Thaddaeus Ropac Seoul until Aug. 20.
BY SHIN MIN-HEE [email@example.com]