Doppelganger

2009
Enamel paint
195.6 x 193 x 111.8 cm
Edition of 3

Joo’s bronze zebra, barely-identifiable in form, investigates perspectival value and the strangely subjective nature of identity. Concerned as much with the experiences of the art-making process as with the final aesthetic, the shape of Doppelganger (Pink Rocinante) derives from the mold used to cast an earlier sculpture. The preceding work, Stubbs (Absorbed) (2009), is based on George Stubbs’ strangely incongruous painting of a zebra within an English countryside setting (1762-63). For Joo, this particular animal – here presented with its skin flayed according to the pattern of its black stripes – acts as a symbol of binary opposites and mistaken identity.

The work’s title originates from the name of Don Quixote’s horse, Rocinante, in Cervantes’ seventeenth century masterpiece. The ‘decrepit old nag’ of the story is transformed into a ‘foremost’ steed, purely by his master’s disillusionment. Doppelganger similarly confounds the viewer’s expectations; Joo pitches the bubble-gum pink of the thick enamel against the industrial, mechanical structure of the mold’s exterior, concurrently confusing the viewer’s perception of the sculpture’s materials, the object’s identity, and the fabrication processes employed in its conception.

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About The Artist

The work of Michael Joo explores ideas concerning identity and knowledge in a contemporary hybrid world. He manifests narratives about people, objects and places which explore the ideas of constructed knowledge and interpreted perception. Joo's rhizomatic, non-linear approach to his work in conjunction with his use of scientific vocabulary and research, results in work that documents a process. Joo's work is a combination of a diverse range of disciplines which includes painting, sculpture, photography and print-making. His practice confuses the boundary between art and science by investigating ontology, epistemology and entropy, which as a result creates trans and multi-disciplinary work that provokes questions and dialogue about our rigidly categorised world. Through his combination of society's various knowledge resources and culture Joo questions and address the fluidity of identity. His materials are as diverse as his body of research ranging from human sweat, silver nitrate and bamboo. It could be argued that Joo's perogative is to achieve the impossible; to construct an object that is barely conceivable even in thought - much like the quest of speculative physics to think the unthinkable and articulate that which might possibly exist.

Michael Joo

Born: 1966