Choi Jeong Hwa at Kiasma, Helsinki

Happy Together

Like a four year old with a Happy Meal toy, this is almost unbelievably about the euphoric pleasure of cheap mass-produced plastic. In this show comprising a number of installations there are transcendental delights in the cheapest of cheap tat. Mechanical inflating giant flowers are visible from the street outside, coming into bloom over a random sequence of moves. It's playful and kitsch, bright and brash and a hugely invigorating summer show.

Cosmos (We Are All Flowers), 2014

Cosmos (We Are All Flowers), 2014

The first installation proper is a mirrored room with hundreds of beads, chains and cords suspended across the double height space. Unlike one of Kusama's Infiniti Rooms there are windows here, natural light to break up the chaos but there is still an eddying over-the-top collection of uncountable choice. 

Happy, Happy,  2016 installation view

Happy, Happy, 2016 installation view

Most successful is a room (Happy, Happy above) of dangling cords, each with a series of casual Korean kitchen wear hung one after another. The plastic jungle can be walked through, the vines of bowls, cups, plates and other vessels swaying as they are passed. Choi Jeong Hwa wants us to be happy, the title of the show a nod to wanting to brighten the mood but this is also a comment on mass-consumerism and disposable production. The room is like a Pop Art print, striking and colourful but like Pop itself, there is critique here - and theory. 

Presence of Eternity (yksityiskohta) , 2013-14

Presence of Eternity (yksityiskohta), 2013-14

Plastic does not compose, everything formed is either toxically destroyed, melted or burnt but so, so much of it goes on to litter the oceans or landfill. It is not an easily recyclable material and its ubiquitous use in the East is even more comprehensive than Europe and the West.

Materialism gives way to more of a process in the next space; further towers are displayed in a less immersive fashion but they are made of muted metals and wood - materials that have a greater life and though far more expensive are able to have a second life through salvage or repurpose. A set of washer boards hangs on a wall, worn with decades of laundry; two large orbs of shattered glass sit on the floor, one comprised from bottles of Moët, the other a cheap Korean liquor. There isn't much difference by this stage.

Love me,  2016 

Love me, 2016 

Content and satisfied the show's exit leads on from one final room - and literally pigs might fly. A giant inflatable metallic pink pig slowly rises, it's wings stretch and then a small deflation allows the wings to dip and front legs to bow. It's not unlike a Koons' balloon sculpture but emboldened by filling up a small room. As unlikely as the swine is to take off, the exhibition certainly does.

http://www.kiasma.fi/en/calendar/choi-jeong-hwa/ until September 18th