Pulsating lights and extensive twists of multi-colored fabric set the scene for the Smith Gallery show Lucidare by Elli Jung ’16. The show features ten printed pieces and six sculptures all in bold colors intending to give viewers a feeling of disorientation.
“The aim of the show is pure sensory absorption. I want you to let yourself be absorbed in the work when you go in,” Jung said. “It’s an absorption of experience in a trance-like bug-to-a-light way.”
The show’s name is in Latin, Lucidare being a verb that means to polish or to make clear, which Jung suggests could be a play on LSD. She describes the effects of LSD as another way she sees viewers interacting with her art. She uses intense colors, shapes and lights to provide viewers with a consuming experience she likens to a risk-free way of experiencing an acid trip and becoming lucid again through questioning of the pieces’ obscurity.
This viewing experience is important to Jung, who considers herself an installation artist. She designs her pieces using a hybrid of media to fill a space and try to consume that environment. While focusing on sculpture, Jung also incorporates graphic design, lighting and performance art.
“I’m all about the art as an experience. Emotional, cognitive, visual, aesthetic, sensory. I’m interested in art as more than just an image on a wall. It’s all-encompassing,” Jung said.
The hanging fabric piece was done over the summer as a part of a larger performance piece on endurance. Jung was restrained and cocooned inside the fabric while her assistant, Nathan Kim ’16, covered her in 40 pounds of ice. Dye was sprinkled into the ice and Jung lay underneath it as the ice slowly melted. She has recorded the making of the piece and plans on using it later on her website.
Recently, Jung has been experimenting with 3D printing, using the two new MakerBots the school acquired this year. Lucidare features three sculptures made using the printers. The sculptures are positioned inside open glass boxes and viewers are encouraged to touch and hold them as a part of their exhibit experience.
“I think [3D printing] changes and grows the way we think about design,” Jung said. “It’s turning design from a manufacturing process into a growing process because it builds. It looks like hot glue, going from solid to liquid and back to solid … design becomes less rectilinear and more like natural growth.”
Jung attributes some of the uniqueness of her work to the environment of the College. Interested in many things growing up, she always pushed art away, but felt it kept calling to her, and she had to pursue it further. She is thankful for the unique blend of students and opportunities the College has to offer.
“Grinnell gave me a chance and I have thrived making art here,” Jung said. “It has made me a very strong individual, competent to think critically about the world in ways I wouldn’t have seen before, and applying those approaches specifically to my art.”
The show opened on Monday, Oct. 26, and will run until Wednesday, Nov. 4. There will be a closing reception featuring a talk by Jung about her work and motivation as well as her views on women in art history, lighting and the effects of drugs on visual disorientation that can be used in art. More of her artwork can be found at ellijung.com.
“I keep coming back no matter what the result because [art] is my refuge away from normal thinking. … If you’re an artist you’re just going to make art,” Jung said. “This show is everything for me. It’s finally my vision of art becoming clear and coming to a head.”