OCHI is pleased to present Staged, an exhibition of new paintings by artist Dabin Ahn. An opening art party was held on December 22, 2023. The solo exhibition runs through December 22, 2023.
OCHI Dabin Ahn
This is the artist’s first solo exhibition with the gallery. Staged is comprised of a suite of paintings by Dabin Ahn. The artwork depicts singular, particular objects, each offering reflections on the artist’s adolescence. The items that Ahn portrays are Korean ceramic vessels, as well as books about the sculptures of Auguste Rodin, and the hood ornament of a family car. These all reify his ongoing search for creative, cultural, and personal identity.
At first glance, Ahn’s paintings resemble the professional documentation of decontextualized historical artifacts undergoing authentication. Upon closer inspection, inexplicable narrative details materialize. A painting of a flying crane liberates itself from its celadon substrate. Light emanates from within vessels or violently pushes through their cracks. Mildly ominous or potentially miraculous, these minute phenomena serve as metaphorical glimpses of an omnipresent artist opting out of corporeal form.
The paintings in Staged present ideas—composites of excavated memories distorted by affect and time. Raised in Korea in the mid 1990s, Ahn’s mother taught sculpture at a local university and completed several public artworks before becoming a full-time parent. His father is one of the most prolific and celebrated actors of Korean cinema.
As his father’s fame grew, the family home filled with exquisite objects from around the world. An imported 1994 Mercedes-Benz E-Class E320 sedan became a multivalent symbol. This became a sign of the family’s achievements, a signifier of status in Korean society. A representation of a patriarch providing for his family, as well as a safe vehicle for a family with small children. It also became a reflection of his father’s taste, which perhaps felt incongruent to Ahn given his dad’s perceived modest personality.
Ahn reminisces about his father polishing the car on Sundays before family outings. Other sublime feelings include looking up at the clouds from the back seat. July 1994 (2023) is a painting of the idea of this car—a mediated recreation of a faint memory of a period in which Ahn’s family was happy together. Drawing focus from the trophy-like Benz logo to the silhouette of an airplane reflected in the car’s hood, Ahn foreshadows his departure from Korea, his family, and his childhood, and creates space for himself to step away from the shadow of his role models.
On view: November 18, 2023 – December 22, 2023
What: Staged, Dabin Ahn
Where: Ochi, 3301 W. Washington Blvd., LA 90018
When: Running through December 22, 2023