Michael Joo

presented by LeRoy Neiman Center for Print Studies, Columbia University

Michael Joo

Huff Wall for Single Breath Transfer


216 x 13 x 78 inches

Mixed Media 

Michael Joo’s blown glass sculptures are placed in a line atop a long wall made of metal framing studs partially covered in glass sheets in place of drywall. The partially glass clad frame wall contains units of perforated cinder block, or “breeze block”, merging the languages and identities of the vitrine, property wall, and base. 

The process involved in creating the glass sculptures is initiated by Joo’s breathing into simple discarded paper and plastic bags that are solidified and made into ceramic shell molds, into which clear and colored molten glass are then blown. Entitled Single Breath Transfers, the vessels refer on one hand to a clinical test that gauges the absorption of carbon monoxide into a person’s bloodstream, and on the other, to the transfer (of breath) from one body to another’s; in this case the glass blower’s. In this way, first the paper (or plastic) and then the glass itself, acts as a skin that separates and contains the breath from the outside, echoing the function of the wall as light and visual baffle. 

Taken together, the minutely detailed yet abstract glass vessels are suggestive of broken beer and wine bottles atop property dividing walls; an at-­‐once decorative and functional security practice still used today. The bags themselves are the same non-­‐descript size and material as those used for 


The thin porous wall of the lung, and the visually perforated mid-­‐century baffle are presented as a dissected vitrine that is an objectification of place.