Stay Mute Seungho Jo

Press release

Peres Projects is pleased to present Stay Mute, a solo exhibition by Seungho Jo at Peres Projects Shilla space in Seoul. 


The title Stay Mute is new to me in the environment of an exhibition where silence fills. It is natural that objects do not produce sounds like humans, and this includes artworks such as paintings and sculptures. Silent objects are not unfamiliar to painters or sculptors. However, what sets Seungho Jo's work apart is that these objects have deliberately chosen silence, almost as if they have pressed a mute button. These objects inherently are able to make sounds, but for some reason, they have remained in silence.


The artist has extensive experience in sound. He has been working as a member of the video-acoustic performance group ‘tapeape’ using analogue equipment, as well as taking on roles such as film music director, sound engineer, and synchronous recording director. Furthermore, he has even served as an acoustician during his military service. It is important for him surrounding in a sense of sound, even when the objects themselves remain completely silent in the exhibition space.


An early exemplar of this concept is the American modern composer John Cage, known for his 'silent performance' of 433 (1952), during which he sat at the piano without producing any sound. Instead of the notes we normally think of, the score reads 'TACET,' a musical term meaning 'silence.’ The performer sits on a piano stool and remains completely still for 4 minutes and 33 seconds without pressing any keys. Playing the silence is paradoxically a reminder that there is never a moment in the world that is completely soundless. By dedicating 4 minutes and 33 seconds to attentive listening, you can hear the myriad of sounds that surround the performer and the audience: distant city noises, the murmurs of people conversing and strolling, the rhythmic thumping of your heart and the whispering of your lungs, and even the subtle circulation of your blood.


According to modern scientific understanding of matter and waves as an indivisible, continuous state, what we perceive as static objects are not different from waves of sound. What we commonly perceive as 'objects' are, in reality, discreetly vibrating streams, and the images of these objects that we observe are instantaneous waves of light that reach our retinas.


The objects presented in Stay Mute actively remain in a state of silence. When things produce no sound, what do they paradoxically make us hear? The artist invites us to contemplate what he regards as muted objects: plasterboard concealed within the white walls, a speaker disguised as stone, an outdoor billboard, and a flyer that lacks the will to advertise. The spectator will now need to step closer to the objects to listen carefully to the silent sounds that do not scream at us.


— Ha Sanghyun


Seungho Jo (b. 1994, Suwon, KR) is a contemporary artist who explores diverse mediums, including media of installation, performance, and video. He was a member of the video sound performance group 'tapeape,' where he extensively utilised analogue equipment. Jo has a multifaceted background that includes experience as a sound director in film, sound engineer, and musician. He is currently pursuing an MFA in Visual Arts at Korea National University of Arts. Recent solo exhibitions include Platform L, Seoul (2022), and Seogyo Square, Seoul (2021).

Installation Shots

Seungho JO

Stay Mute

Installation View

September 2 – October 29, 2023

Peres Projects, Seoul