Uncertain Presence in the Soft City
New York based Kane Do creates formally minimal works that explore absence and presence.
Chalk, sunshine and a vacant car parking space - these are an example of the sparse essentials that might form the basis of Vietnamese born, New York based Kane Chanh Do´s installation views. Creating formally minimal work, Do capitalises, as curator Deborah Kermode has written, ´on the profound possibilities of mundane materials´.
Emigrating to Portland, Oregon to pursue his education, Do has, since graduating in 1996, had solo exhibitions at the PDX Gallery in Portland and has exhibited his work in group shows in the USA, the UK and Japan. In 2000, Do participated in the exhibition, ´as it is´ at the Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, UK, which explored what travel writer Jonathan Raban coined ´the soft city´ - the fluid architecture of the urban sprawl, built from the dreams, nightmares, aspirations and fears of its inhabitants.
Do´s contribution was a photographic series entitled ´Car Park Drawing´, which documented the pictures he chalked on to a Birmingham car park. By standing against the sun on the edge of a delineated parking space, Do threw a shadow of his figure into what Kermode describes as ´the grid structure ubiquitous in the urban landscape´. By blocking in the area around his outline, Do´s presence became a void. The ethereal quality of his trace was dramatised further by the chalk´s vulnerability to rain, and the possibility of his drawing becoming concealed by a parked car.
In the catalogue accompanying the show, Deborah Kermode suggests that in these parking space drawings, Do refers to the apocryphal origins of art. She writes, ´His drawings recall the diversity of mark-making from the human body such as traditional aboriginal handprints and shadow tracings of classical antiquity, as well as outlines of murder victims in police investigations. The idea of absence is paramount´. She also points out that the act of drawing on the ground brings to mind childhood play as well as ´the physical nature of action paintings, where the edges of a parking space suggest large-scale canvases´.
The artist records his drawings by taking pictures of them. As Kermode points out, the negative image he chalks already corresponds to photography and ´its connotations of mortality and the isolation of a moment from the continuum of time´.
Source: Based on text by Deborah Kermode in ´as it is´ catalogue, 2000.
Kane Chanh Do was born in Qui-Nhon, Vietnam in 1971. He studied at Reed College in Portland, Oregon, graduating in 1996 and has since lived and worked in New York. Between 1999 and 2000, Do undertook independent research at Center for Contemporary Art, Kitakyushu, Japan. In 2000 he designed the stage set and costumes for the Uzume Theater Company´s production of ´The Man Who Turned Into a Stick´ by Abe Kobo.
1999 ‘Minimalist Delights’, editorial, The Oregon, 30 April
1999 Article by Kate Bonansinga, Willamette Week, 28 April
1998 ‘Value Judgment’, Randy Gragg, The Oregon, 16 January
1998 ‘Beauty and Sadness’, D.K. Row, Willamette Week, 6 January
SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS
Exhibition / Installation,
2000 ‘As It Is’, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, UK (catalogue)
2000 ‘Here and Now’, Fukouka Art Museum, Japan (catalogue)
2000 ‘Intervals, Frames and Accelerations, a Snowglobe Invitational’,
Froelick Adelhart Gallery, Portland, Oregon
1999 Maeda Studios exhibition, Kitakyushu, Japan
1999 10th Kukuoka ‘Art Adventure’, IMS Plaza, Fukuoka, Japan
1999 ‘Seeing Money’, The Old Town Arts and Cultural Foundation, Portland, Oregon
1998 ‘Hands On Color’, Bellevue Art Museum, Bellevue, Washington
1998 ‘Summer Group Show’, PDX, Portland, Oregon
1998 ‘Drawings’, Meyerson & Nowinski, Seattle, Washington
1997 ‘Gallery Artists’, PDX, Portland, Oregon
Exhibition / Installation,
2000 ‘Oregon Else’, PDX, Portland, Oregon
1999 ‘I – Beam’, Arch, Span, & Bloom, PDX, Portland, Oregon
1998 ‘Alchemy’, PDX, Portland, Oregon