Dachal Choi

Return to Artist List



What is my work about?

As a child of the photo-op culture, my interest lies in the scripted stage of “the need to be viewed”. My narrative arc plays with the hierarchies between two platforms: the very spot of the performance versus the exhibition, which regenerates that scene through sculpture, video, and photography. The documentarian strategies mirroring my work are not only a framed slice of the real but also a mystified space for inquiry. The flatness of images invites audiences to unknot the lack of volumes and trace back its generating recipes. The excessive, nonsensical, discomforting, and betraying constitute the emotion-scape. I aim to enfold such realisms into a critical reading of sociopolitical circumstances.

Artist Statement

Image 1-2: A professional portrait of myself wearing a mask of my face.


Image 3-7: Collaborating with professionals who appropriate the state of “object-ness” within their bodies, I searched for a human character. In Promotion, William, a human billboard, advertised my practice during the Labor Day march using the skills he usually employs to promote a gentleman’s club. With Sadness is Only Skin Deep, I hired a human statue, Adam, to present a face fixed in sorrow. As the profession describes the simultaneous coexistence of both human and statue, I requested Adam to maintain a professional character in his face and to be himself in the rest of his body. For open studio, the sadness was displayed as a durational and superficial product with spray-painted watermelons and a copper image on the screen. Both contractors’ inability to sustain a perfect repetitive loop in their performances questions the possibility or impossibility for plasticity in emotional flow in media.


Image 8-11: In Birthdays, I organized fake birthday parties with my real friends and strangers who were recruited. All of them were required to act friendly in front of the camera in order to create a veneer of authenticity in the images. The flattened media, which the scenes were recorded on obfuscates the histories and intimacies I shared with the participants, brutally rendering friends and hired company to a uniform performance of scripted happiness and are thus unreliable for viewers to confirm whether a friend is truly a friend or just bought. In parallel with people, the format of renting had followed with the territory of tangible properties. For nine days, a combination of my own objects, friends’ objects and rented objects were arranged with my documentation of the birthday parties in the gallery space. Each day of the exhibition presented a new deadline for returning certain rented objects.


Image 12: I rearranged the workspace according to the categories of ownership: blue for mine, pink for identified gifts, red for anonymous gifts, and green for borrowed items.


Image 13-16: The Malformed Intersection narrates a contradiction where two objects or individuals, which are visually similar but belong to a different time and place, confront each other. I have captured “similar” situations and then sought the possibility of the “identical” from them. (Un)Folding Portraits conveys the fabricating process of the incongruent union of two bodies (two shirts and two kinds of Koreans). The work became an examination of the irreconcilable interval created by different times and places. Objects, places and people that seem to be similarly sourced are just short of aligning. The greater the compression of the two ends to produce one entity, the clearer the gap.


Image 17-19: Lighten the Light and Untitled (with The Reality Hunt) sprung from my witnessing of two propaganda monuments’ self-contradiction after the sudden cancellation of a publicity stunt involving the lighting of three monumental Christmas trees at DMZ areas. Though the event I was expecting didn’t happen, I climbed Aegibong hill and was confronted with the unlit structures in a deserted site that fell just short of a grand event. Simultaneously, I saw a propaganda-prop village in North Korea that was built in order to imply wealth. Subsequently, I chiseled a block of plaster that embedded a photo of the village. Distortion of the image became immolation for reconstructing my remembrance and feeling of fear. With sun-sensitive paper, I printed my documentation of the monument as a way to replace the absence of the festive light with sunlight. Within the stairway structure, audiences climbed to encounter selected photos and the sound of chiseling and the monologue narrating my experience at the DMZ. They could encounter the print located in a sunny place in the top floor.


Image 20: This revolving sculpture refers to the news photo of a senior culture place. Since I was rejected, I wanted to simulate the seniors’ fun atmosphere as a substitution for my absence.



MFA, Yale University School of Art, New Haven, CT


BFA, College of Fine Arts, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea


BFA, School of Visual Arts, New York, NY



Open Studios, Site 95 with Top Top Studio, New York, NY

, The Distillery Gallery, Boston, MA
Art Shop! The Show, Franklin Street Works Gallery, Stamford, CT
Kool-Aid Wino, Franklin Street Works Gallery, Stamford, CT
Apartment Show, Nouriel Roubini’s Residence, New York, NY
Distant Spectacle, Postcrypt Gallery, New York, NY
Yale MFA Sculpture Thesis Exhibition, Yale School of Art, Green Hall Gallery, New Haven, CT

Collaboration with Josiah Mcelheny, 32 Edgewood Avenue Gallery, New Haven, CT
Drag on NY, Art Gate Gallery, New York, NY

ADOEM Project, Seoul Art Space Seogyo, Seoul, Korea
I Will Survive, Seoul Art Space Seogyo, Seoul, Korea
Changwon Asia Art Festival 2011, Masan 315 Art Center, Masan, Korea
In The City, Chungmu Art Hall Gallery, Seoul, Korea
Class of 2011, Hyundai Gallery, Seoul, Korea



George R. Bunker Award, Yale University School of Art, New haven, CT

Dongbang Yogoi Best 21, Art in Culture, Seoul, Korea
Emerging Artist Workshop Program, Seoul Art Space Seogyo, Seoul, Korea

Lipson Allen Scholarship Award, The Alumni Society of School of Visual arts, New York. NY



“The Corrections: Nine Things Not to Do When Writing a Catalogue Essay”, by Claire Barliant
Crazy Bucket/ Bucket Crazy, Collaboration with Jennyfer Haddad, New York, NY

Art in Culture February, “Choi Dachal”, Seoul, Korea
20/20 Magazine, School of Visual Arts, New York, NY