Diffusion / Cohesion

September 22, 2021 – November 10, 2021
The Sylvia Wald and Po Kim Art Gallery

417 Lafayette St.
New York, NY

Image courtesy of the event organizer.

Image courtesy of the event organizer.

SWPK is pleased to present the group show Diffusion/Cohesion, featuring works in traditional and new media by artists Gil Bruvel, Eunsuh Choi, James Cullinane, Rodney Dickson, Kyung-Ae Hur, Yong R. Kwon, Taezoo Park and Raphaele Shirley, on view through November 10th, 2021 in the gallery’s 1st and 2nd floor exhibition spaces at 417 Lafayette Street, NYC.

The advent of the COVID-19 pandemic has transformed the behaviors of society. As people struggle to maintain a semblance of normalcy, the dichotomy of physical remoteness and virtual proximity has been intensified in a globally interconnected world. Despite the distance between us, communities have strived to create and adapt to novel forms of unity and cohesion, ushering in an era where we must re-evaluate the perceptions of our new reality.

Diffusion/Cohesion seeks to examine the two interdependent, opposing forces of diffusion and cohesion, and the role they play in our human experience. Since the onset of the pandemic, both dynamics have had a profound impact on our individual and group experiences. Society has undergone a historically unprecedented degree of physical separation and isolation—diffusion—in order to slow the spread of the pandemic. At the same time, modern advances in digital technology have allowed us to sustainably function as socially-distant communities by enabling remote connection and collaboration—cohesion—with one another through the use of social media, online collaboration tools and video platforms. Yet, despite their virtues, these platforms provide virtual experiences that are by definition simulated.

The psycho-social impacts of the diffusion and cohesion caused by the pandemic are well documented: heightened feelings of detachment, isolation and impotence counterbalanced by a yearning for companionship, unity and agency in a world beyond our individual control. As the constant dynamic equalization of these two dichotomies accelerates within the current sociopolitical context, we see the increasing effects of ricochet societal polarization and the weaponization of identity politics. At the same time, the deconstruction of the pre-existing order has also revealed deeply-rooted social injustices in our system and engendered a widespread unified effort towards a radical restructuring of society that can lead to greater cohesion and human flourishing.

The artists presented in this exhibition explore the dichotomies of cohesion and diffusion through video and digital installations, analog and NFT technology, glass sculpture, paintings and three-dimensional wall pieces, reflecting the collapse and unity we experienced, and continue to experience, as a society and reveal the potential for ensuing cultural renewal and regeneration.