Inside Jihyun Hong’s compact studio, the artist has sheathed a whole room in metallic silver. Only select objects are left naked, and they’re arranged to suggest uncanny moments.
It’s not the first silver room I remember at a Bushwick Open Studios. My favorite was the short-lived Lair Collective’s “Punctuated Equilibrium V. 2.0: American Chimera” installation at 134 Grattan Street in 2008, which you had to look at with 3-D glasses to get the full sparkling effect. It was surprising and physically inaccessible, forcing us to look at the space from behind a barrier.
Andy Warhol was the king of chintzy silver installations. His Factory studio forever identified his name with silver walls, as did his “Silver Clouds,” which he made out of a new, space-age material.
The most famous use of silver in art history is the Italian Renaissance painting manifesto by Filippo Brunelleschi, who proved perspective using two panels, one of which was burnished with silver where the sky should’ve been. The result — which involved a special arrangement of the two paintings — most likely looked cinematic to people in the Renaissance because the sky appeared to move in the reflection.
In Hong’s room, any sense of illusion is static, and the uncovered objects are perishable; set against the matte metallic backdrop, they create a sense that the whole space was placed in a deep freeze.