Project Room

Michael Namkung:
Flying Towards the Ground

Locust Projects is pleased to present Flying Towards the Ground, a new project by California-born, Miami-based artist Michael Namkung, which explores humans’ desire for flight, and our concurrent fear of falling. The artist’s interdisciplinary art practice often draws on the language of sports training and athletic performance as a means to explore the sensory experience of drawing under physical strain. At Locust Projects – as with many of his artworks – the form of the installation is determined by Namkung’s physical effort, combined with an element of chance. 

Namkung’s project has its roots in his recurring dreams of becoming airborne, as well as his literal experience of flying and falling as a sportsman: he has played Ultimate Frisbee for more than twenty years and Flying Towards the Ground is particularly influenced by this pursuit. His work is performative in a number of senses, but the viewer sees the physical results of the artist’s perseverance and determination rather than witnessing the performance itself. Prior to the opening of his exhibition, Namkung will cover the floor of the Project Room with a thick bed of damp sand. After raising the space’s garage door and undertaking a run-up, the artist will launch himself into the space, briefly attaining flight. The impact of his falling body will create depressions in the sand, leaving areas of negative space that will then be filled with plaster. Once the plaster has hardened, the solid forms will be excavated and hung from the ceiling, levitating like clouds over the sand. These sculptural elements will be accompanied by a composite video featuring a sustained image of the artist’s body in flight. 

The exhibition is accompanied by a publication titled Flying Towards the Ground: A Reader on Flying and Falling, a compilation of short texts that reflect on the desire to fly and the fear of falling, from a range of perspectives. 


Michael Namkung was born in Oakland, California, and lives and works in Miami. He received his MFA with Distinction from San Francisco State University in 2009. His work has been exhibited at The Drawing Center, New York; The Projects, Fort Lauderdale; Niterói Contemporary Art Museum, Brazil; SFMOMA; Root Division, San Francisco; and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Drawing at Florida International University.

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