Shin Kyung Jin:”Imitating Venus”

15 Jul

Shin Kyung Jin,”Imitating Venus”,media art

Shin Kyung Jin,”Imitating Venus”,sculpture with plaster

    From the past to now, aspiration for beauty has been immense. Also, I think advancement of plastic surgery especially in Korea, the desire for beaty has been more extreme. For example, there are so many advertisements about cosmetic surgery which are depicted people’s face,before and after had operation, at the subway stations. In addition, slim body is also one of the aspirations for beaty. Diet has been so natural and common words for woman. Even, what they say,”woman always do diet all their life.” and Anorexia has been one of the disease to modern people. For instance, when I type the food name such as pasta,starbuck’s Frappuccino, at the NAVER which is korea search engine site like google,then the ‘food’s calorie’ appear as a recommened search word under the search engin box. At a ‘Jisik-in’ cyberspace that people can post what they curious and don’t know about, the numbers of questions about calories are large.

   The top of the left picture is an artist,Shin Kyung jin’s “Imitating Venus(비너스 흉내내기)”. it is a media art and displayed in exhibition,’confession:Advertisement,Art and Public’ at Ilmin museum of art(in Seoul). In the media, the artist pose three gestures and her assistent who is a man put the iron thin rods on her body to measure it. The machines are ‘low-tech pointing machines’ which the artist made on the basis of France sculptor. As her body is measured and trapped by the machines, the artish Shin shows the process of human body as being product. In front of the media, there are also three sculptures with plasters as the results of the measuring process.  Actually, the intention of the art work is to criticize ‘sexuality’ in the advertisement. As an example of this, models appeal the customers as models take an sexual pose. But I think in the artist,Shin’s work, the social phenomenon as excessive desire for beauty: diet and plastic surgery is also reflected in Shin’s art works. I think she reflects effectively and penetratively  picture of sexuality in modern Korea and i could easily feel the same way.


PLATEAU: Felix Gonzalez- Torres, Double (revised)

14 Jul

Felix Gonzalez-Torres was born in 1957 in Cuba and migrated to New York. He worked in art field and at the age of 38, he died because of AIDS. He denied fixed notion and monumental of art. Also, he argued that the art changed and made by audiences’ participation has a real eternity. His works such as light bulbs, texts, candies, clocks, mirrors, billboards, piles of paper are about ‘Love and Death. In 2012 now, SAMSUNG Art museum plateau is opened Felix Gonzalez- Torres’s exhibition, double as the First solo museum exhibition in Seoul and in Asia.

At the entrance of the museum, there is “untitled(North)”. It is composed of warm lights of bulbs which mean as ‘Free’. This artwork can be easily changed, because the bulbs are connected with wires. So, the shape of the piece is various according to the place. Between of the first space and the entrance door, there is another piece of which subtitle is ‘Beginning’. It looks like a curtain made of crystal beads. To go into the space and see the exhibition, audiences should touch the art work. It has a meaning related to the subtitle that as a ‘fear of contact with AIDS patient’. As Gonzalez-Torres made audience touch the piece, he emphasized the message with his background. Also, when I passed through the piece, I could feel his pain and find myself trying to put in his shoes. And then go into the space, the exhibition began in earnest. There are two ‘candy’ works which are the stack of green candies and silver candies. People can get the candies and when the candies are gone, then curator in the museum or gallery fills up the candies. In connection with it, I think about ‘where is art?’; art is at curators who can be involve in art project. In the next space, there are walls printed with flying the one bird and the sky monochrome images. In front of the walls, there are two piles of sheet; first one is printed with a flying bird and second is printed with one part of famous writer Oscar Wilde’s play. The titles of these two works are “untitled(Aparición)” and “untitled”. I think freely flying bird means Gonzalez-Torres himself, because he sought relief from suffering aids and desired for living together with his lover, Ross Laycock. He asserted,”It has this glow. The beautiful blue creates a glow on the wall when it rests on the floor. And when you look at it, you can think about so many things. You can think of the sky. You can think about water. You can think about pleasant things that are related to that kind of light blue. I know it has a gender connotation; you can’t get away from that. But I also meant it as this beautiful blank page onto which you can project anything you want, any image, whatever.” Besides, audience can have some papers of piles like souvenir. Susan Stewart who is the author of <on longing: Narratives of the Miniature, the Gigantic, the Souvenir, the Collection,Durham,N.C.:Duke university Press,1993>has written about souvenirs as ” objects of desire”: The souvenir reduces the public, the monumental, and the three-dimensional into the miniature, that which can be enveloped by the body or into the two-dimensional representation the postcard or photograph, that which can be. There are also work,“untitled(Go-Go Dancing Platform)” with many pictures,”untitled(Natural History)”hung on the around the walls. While the platform looks like bright, brilliant and light, the pictures are dark, still and sole. Also in the pictures, there are images of some words that are politician, scholar, scientist and so on. These words are opposite things to Gonzalez-Torres, because he was not white but Cuban and homosexual. But as he made a dancer dancing on the top of the platform, he could be rid of his complex and even could upgrade his existence and identity. There is “          ”. On the walls, many words seemed to important historical events and dates are written. But in fact, the vocabs are not related with them. In contrast, the words are such private things. Recently, date and name of this place, PLATEAU, are written. The reason why it could be possible is a list of portfolio he made about how his art works have to be displayed in many galleries and museum. So, his arts are not still but can be changed and broadened by curators and audiences. In this regard, I would want to go to his exhibition again, because I feel curious about ‘how his works are changed at next exhibition?’ At last, my favorite work of him is ‘Perfect Lovers’. It was impressive for me. The work is two same round clocks. I heard that ‘two circles’ symbolize homosexual and ‘8’ means eternity. I think that two clocks mean his lover, Laycock and himself. Like the word ’perfect’, the clocks seem to be totally same: same time, same color, material and style of number texts. In fact, however, they are not perfectly same. Time of the left clock is little faster than right one. I think it means the fact that Laycock died earlier than Gonzalez-Torres. It looks like Gonzalez-Torres is following to his lover. But, sadly they cannot meet together. So the clocks can not only be perfect like the subtitle but also imperfect. So, I think that this piece is the most beautiful and at the same time sad.

Confession: Advertisement, art, and pubilc.

10 Jul

2012년 7월 12일 일요일 오후,  우리나라 광고의 역사를 알 수 있는 ‘고백-광고와 미술, 그리고 대중’전을 보기 위해 광화문역 앞에 위치한 일민미술관에 방문했다. 처음 미술관 외벽의 포스터를 봤을 떄 왜 고백이 전시의 제목일까  궁금했었는데,  “고백”은 ‘본래 숨긴일이나 생각한 바를 솔직하게 말함’이라는 사전적 의미를 가지고 있는 동시에 대한민국 개화기(1876년  이후)부터광고를 뜻하는 용어이기도 하였다.  아마 솔직하게 말한다는 고백의 의미가 ‘광고’의 지켜야할 첫번째 의무와 일치하기에 동일한 단어가 쓰이지 않았을까 생각했다.

미술관의 문을 열고 건물을 들어서니 전시가 총 3층으로 이루어 져 있었다.  1층에는 사회에 메세지를 던지는 대한민국 광고의 표현이 어떻게 시대별로 달라져 왔는 지,  그리고 대중의 소비성향을 보여주는 여러 자료들이 시간순으로  전시되어 있었고  2층과 3층에는 8개의 키워드(성공, 미래, 섹슈얼리티, 슈퍼파워, 아이덴티티, 신뢰, 내러티브, 하이퍼리얼리즘) 를 중심으로 광고로서 드러나는 대중이 가진 욕망의 아이콘들을 적극적으로 작품세계에 끌어들인 한국 작가들의 작업이 있었다.  3층 의  전시를 모두 본 후  개인적으로 가장 재미있게 느꼈던 점은 1층에 있었던 스케치북에 인쇄된 광고 문구들이었다.  여러가지 광고문구들이 스케치북에 인쇄되어 늘어져 있었는데,  관람객이 뜯어 갈 수 있도록 많은 양을 복사해 놓았다.  대량 생산된 이미지를 가져와 또다시 불특정 다수에게 재분배 한 이 인쇄물배치는 어떤 한 작가가 만든 작품의 유일성이나 현존성을 강조했던 과거와 달리 대량생산되고 다시 재편집되어 하나의 작품으로 인정되는 현대미술의 모습을 잘 표현했고,  또 이 전시의 테마인 ‘광고’의 속성를 가장 잘 표현해 준 작업이라 생각했다.

“DOING” -Hyung-Gkwan Kim

10 Jul

The Kumho Museum in Seoul-si Jongno-gu Sagan-dong 78 presents an exhibition “Doing”.  This exhibition tried to be beyond the art concept that is fixed and unchanging, and make new meaning and relationship between the audience and artist by interacting thorough art works. In this exhibition, Hyung-Gkwan Kim, Mong-ju Son, Se-Kun Joo, Min-ja Goo, Sim-Rea Jung and Mok-yon U were participating.  The entrance to the museum is somewhat fancy, not gentle because the glass window is decorated with colorful tapes. While there is no charge for admission at most galleries around, the Kumho Museum charges people 4000won to watch the exhibition, which might make people dither over entering there. However, people can get a ticket with a fake coin like as reparation for a fee. With the coin, people have one chance to do ‘뽑기’ that one can get a random one of things in the plastic ball by spinning the handle of something like vending-machine. I think it seems a good setting to lead people to do “doing” actively. Actually, it is also artwork by an artist Mok-yon Yoo. It is a crumpled piece of paper that is in a plastic ball coming out through random drawings. One of the papers’ contents is that 2E and P=doing=Art. In other words, ‘Enjoy, Eat and Play’ is ‘doing’ and that is ‘Art’! Art is just doing, right? And I believe Seoul city is the perfect place to enjoy, eat and play, isn’t it?   

Hyung-Gkwan Kim

By taking whole one rectangle space on the first floor, Hyung-Gkwan Kim’s works are shown widely. The title is 만능 서울 만능 정원(all powerful Seoul all powerful garden). He uses box tapes called OPP tape to make his art works. This medium which is easily available is originally used in packing and attaching, but the artist Kim brought it for art. He cuts and attaches tapes one by one by overlapping to make depth. First impression of his works was very pretty, decorative and optical. Many different colors of tapes were stretching from bottom to wall freely forming geometric and decorative patterns, which made me feel that the space is like fantastic amusement park. The most interesting and important part of the work for me is that this work needs audience reaction. It was very good to me because it inspired people to experience and participate in creating part of his work of art. To appreciate, approach to works and participate in making works, people have to take off their shoes. There are various color tapes and scissors for guests so they can cut and attach the tapes on the bottom the way they want. The art works invited me and every people to not formal but very free and open place. The space didn’t require very careful behavior for not damaging art pieces or seriousness to appreciate them. Parents don’t need to worry about their children who can touch and ruin precious art pieces. They can just enjoy “doing” by having their way. Kim’s work allows people get rid of their preconceived notion about the art works. Furthermore, personally, I like the method of Kim’s working. I think Kim’s material and method for making art are unconventional and novel compared to previous methods for art even though there were other various ways to create art work. However, Kim’s way using colorful and light tapes is not separated from reality but really matched well with modern society: an age of materialism. It seems that his work and title intended to represent all diverse things like so many people and huge buildings, colorful design in Seoul city. This exhibition try to prove “Art for All!” which is the answer for the question “Art for whom?”

The Talking Art

10 Jul

I went to Hyehwa looking for some art museums or galleries, but the museum I was going to were still rebuilding. When I just felt disappointed and tired of getting lost my ways, there were a special art rushed into my sight.


It looks like a part of the bamboo which is made of a big stone. The most special point is that it has a human mouth on it! The first thought that came out of my mind is the Chinese word of bamboo,竹. In Chinese, we speak “竹”as “ju”, and the mouth shape of speaking ”竹” just as same as the mouth showed on the art work. The art work bamboo is telling us what itself is, so we can know it immediately. Therefore, I called this art work as “the talking art”. It was really happy for me to saw a talking art which speak in my first language, Chinese, at a foreign country which I can’t communicate with others easily.


 Bamboo in my country means virtuous, and secluded, then I think maybe the art work bamboo isn’t speaking “竹”, but telling all the people to be quiet by saying “sh….”. Also the gray color makes it looked more quite and more secret. The bamboo becomes a special little place of peaceful and serene when standing on a noisy street which full of people’s voice and the cars’ noise. It is a mysterious bamboo, telling us to put down all the distracting thoughts, and be quiet to heard what our heart try to tell us.


 No matter it is saying “竹” or saying ”sh…”, this bamboo is truly a talking art for me.



Il Lee and The Line of Duration

10 Jul

“Il Lee and The Line of Duration” Gallery Hyundai

Il Lee was born in Seoul, Korea in 1952. He fist received his B.F.A in painting at Hong-Ik University in Korea and later attended the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York where he received his M.F.A. During his time at the Pratt Institute in the late 70’s Lee was fascinated by the process and the delicate linear expressions of etching, a process of printmaking which requires one to finely etch the surface of a printing plate. After a period of experimentation inspired by etching, Lee settled on the ballpoint pen as his primary method of visual communication due to the tool’s ability to “produce a continuous line of long duration”. Lee translates a traditional method into non-traditional work which straddles the border of drawing and painting. Lee has gained critical acclaim throughout the years and in 2011 four of his works were acquired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Lee’s exhibition in Gallery Hyundai titled “Il Lee and The Line of Duration” is the artist’s first solo exhibition in Korea since 1996.

Il Lee, BL-119, ballpoint pen on canvas, 2009, 190.5×297.2

When I entered Gallery Hyundai I felt like I had walked into a very meditative space. Gentle classical music played in the warmly lit gallery as I started view the exhibition. The atmosphere reflected Il Lee’s meditative works which have a richness of dichotomies (defined/undefined, mass/individual, movement/stillness, rigidity/fluidity). At first glance the work on the canvas appears to be one substantial and unifying mass, but as one views the artist’s work from a closer distance he or she will see that the work is made from one delicate line made by a tool which normally is not used to make marks on a large surface usually used with paints and brushes. I felt like this aspect of the work was especially apparent in BL-119 which is the result of one fluid, collective, and active mark to create a mass with great depth and movement. I was enraptured by the fact that such a simple and to us a mindless mark made by the most ordinary tool could create such a result, but I was very upset about the fact that I could not take any photographs (once again…) of the great amount of close-up details.

Il Lee, TIRW-201, acrylic and oil on canvas, 2012, 208.3×276.9

Part of the basement exhibition space and most of the second floor is devoted to Lee’s newest series of work. He still uses the method of  etching with non-traditional tools on canvas but he etches into oil paint to reveal the layer of acrylic paint underneath. There are several small paintings in this collection that have different qualities from most of Lee’s work. These works are made by raking straight lines into the surface with a bamboo stick. In these particular works the viewer can see which line was made after or before another since the lines leave visual traces of Lee’s orchestrated movements. The direct evidence of this layering process is less evident in the larger works of oil and acrylic paint in which an empty ballpoint pen is used to etch lines onto the canvas. One such work is TIRW-201 where a multitude of masses made from fluid lines are revealed through etching the topmost layer of paint.For me there is a particular beauty in the permanence of the line, the process repetition which leads to something wholly organic with a demanding presence, and the creation of unique work from the use of a mundane tool in an ordinary way.

Even though many think that Lee’s work is planned, the artist stated at a press conference featured on The Korea Times that  “Instead of thinking too much before drawing, I rather face the canvas and feel it. It’s like more being intuitive.” I found this statement especially fascinating since working purely from intuition can often times lead to aesthetically unpleasing work, yet all of Lee’s pieces in the exhibition have a rare, organic rawness which is full of beauty and depth. The actions Lee goes through to produce his work can be referred to as tribal unconsciousness and action art. Lee’s homecoming exhibition is on view at Gallery Hyundai until July 15th.

*Background information on Il Lee and his works are provided by the Gallery Hyundai website and exhibition leaflet.
10 Jul

Some interesting and valuable excerpts from Soyeon Ahn’s interview with Andrea Rosen

Reading Feliz Gonzalez-Torres’ interview with Anrea Rosen, who was not only his assistant, but also a friend of him, I believe, helps us better understand Felix and his work. I purchased the exhibition ‘Felix Gonzalez-Torres-Double’ catalogue. Below are some excerpts of the interview with Andrea Rosen from the catalogue.

Soyeon Ahn:

Born in 1961, Soyeon Ahn is Chief Curator at PLATEAU. She graduated from Ewha Womans University of Seoul with a bachelor degree in French literature, and a master degree in Art History. She started her career as a curator at National Museum of Contemporary Art in 1986. She has been Chief Curator at Samsung Art Foundation since 1996. Some representative past exhibitions curated by Ahn are: ‘Joseph Beuys’ (National Museum of Contemporary Art, Korea 1991), ‘Lee Bul’ (Rodin Gallery, Seoul 2002), ‘Mind Space’ (Ho Am Gallery, 2003), ‘MATTHEW BARNEY: DRAWING RESTRAINT’ (Leeum Samsung Museum of Art, 2005), and ‘Felix Gonzalez-Torres-Double’ (PLATEAU, 2012).

Andrea Rosen and Felix Gonzalez-Torres Foundation:

Andrea Rosen is a gallerist who had own gallery, Andrea Rosen Gallery, in Chelsea, New York. The gallery was inaugurated in January, 1990, with an exhibition of Felix Gonzalez-Torres. After, she established Felix Gonzalez-Torres Foundation in 2002 to promote and give perpetuity (breath) to Gonzalez-Torres’s artworks. The foundation is housed at Andrea Rosen Gallery. Felix Gonzalez-Torres Foundation not only sponsored many Gonzalez-Torres’s exhibitions worldwide, but also has provided positive aid to general public, scholars, and art-historians. They have archived all of his works and installation shots of nearly every exhibition in which Gonzalez-Torres’s work was included, exhibition catalogues, magazine and newspaper articles, and reviews. They also give guidance for installing, maintaining and de-installation of Gonzalez-Torres’s works, which can be refabricated, to the exhibition organizers.

Below: Excerpts from Soyeon Ahn’s Interview with Andrea Rosen

Soyen Ahn: Felix majored in photography and later also gave lectures. The concept of photography eradicating the aura of the unique artwork, challenging the authority of its owner and therefore bringing the artist significantly closer to the public, seems to be directly reflected in his installations.

Andrea Rosen: (……) For Felix, the core of his work is the idea that the only thing that is permanent is change. He believed that the only way to sustain a work’s significance is through the possibility of change- change of perception or physical change. The photographic works are an important foil for the physically malleable works and vice versa as they make us question each in contrast to one another.

About eradicating the aura of the uniqueness of the artwork: addressing our relationship to the unique versus the multiple object is an important subject for Felix. (……)

Our general questioning of the value of photographs as infinitely reproducible objects becomes interesting in Felix’s work. Because so many of the key unique works have the ease of being reproduced (e.g. paper stacks, candies, beaded curtains, billboards), there is almost a reversal in some way. What becomes more precious are the pure photographic works that cannot be remade. Felix was always interested in the extremes of one or the other, but rather in this flipping of ideas in order to inspire conscious thinking and questioning. Felix was less interested in the extremes of one and another, (……) he was more interested in us being willing to engage with the grey areas. (……)

S: In addition to specifying the details and conditions of the work, the certificates of authenticity play an important role in emphasizing the ‘flexible parameters of place and interpretation’, an idea that is not only unconventional but also selflessly generous. Please give us your accounts on realizing these certificates.

A: It was part of Felix’s intention that the certificates would also evolve over time. The certificates, while in many ways quite specific, us a particular language that very purposefully leaves room for interpretation. Felix was very clear about what the nature of the work was, but once of the most fascinating aspects about working on the certificates is the realization that ideas, and our ability to describe the nuances of those ideas, shift and grow over time. (……)

S: Although the ‘public’ function of art was a contentiously debated issue at the time, Felix diverged from outright activist approach to exploring this idea. Instead he developed a unique, more poetic way of exposing the reality where the public sphere evades the private. Would you agree that this perhaps relates to the billboards?

A: More important than the significance of the number of billboard locations is that works are really meant to be in ‘”real” public spaces, where everybody can see them. When you put something in a museum, people assume that they have to understand it the way museum understands it. Placed in public, everyone can have a right to experience and interpret it on their own terms. The billboards are not displayed with accompanying text, so nothing is forced or taught. Again, this relates to the responsibility of the individual to form an opinion.



from the ‘Felix Gonzalez-Torres-Double’ catalogue.