Keeping IT…… Griffin Beste

Griffin Beste


Contemporary Arts

Exhibition Visit.

Keeping it Real

Korean Artists in the Age of Multi-Media Representation

I recently discovered the CU art museum while having a recitation section for my other class in the building; it is very surprising how someone can miss things like the museum after three years of attending school and classes within feet of it. Nonetheless I was very pleased when I finally was able to witness the exhibits and what the museum had to offer. The CU art museum is unique from what I have experienced before, there were two Changing Exhibition galleries, two Permanent Collection, as well as a space for video exhibitions. I didn’t know that there were exhibitions that were so incredible just a couple of feet before me. When I returned to the CUAM for a second time I attended the exhibition, “Keeping it Real. Korean Artists in the age of Multi-Media Representation Exhibition.” The works are done by several different Korean Artists, which include Yong-ho Ji, Jaye Rhee, Kiwoun Shin, Sun K. Kwak, Kyung Woo Han, Yeondoo Jung, and Hyungkoo Lee; all are names that I know that if I tried to pronounce that I would butcher their pronunciation. I thought it was relatively ironic that the exhibition was about Korean Artists and even though they were all from different places they were all presented as a single group rather than individuals even though these artists work out of different places like Seoul, Korea, New York, and Europe (CU Art Museum).


The exhibition was very interesting as I traveled through the room I noticed the video pieces, pictures, and the sculpture in the middle of the room. They all had a cohesive nature to them, even though each was different. I mostly admired the pieces that demonstrated forms of art that I have never seen before. Each panel, picture, piece, etc. had its own intrigue and magnetism, but the personal stories next to the works were the coup de grâce that brought in the personal aspect and the explanation of meaning and purpose.


I wouldn’t know where a good place to start explaining the art would be, there were so many pieces that were impressive, none of which lacked anything short of explicit recognition. I was swept away from the visual aesthetics of a piece that had the greatest personal connection to me, “Crash Reality Test” by Kiwoun Shin was the most moving in visual stimulation and meaning, at least in my minds eye and a few others I viewed the works with. This was a sad piece that had to do with the artist’s personal experience with friends in car accidents. The topic-sitting heavy on my shoulders was confusing as the video was so appealing; there were large panels in which a video was presented in extreme slow motion. Each different subject appears as a static image almost as a portrait, with a drink sitting on table in front of their body, an object is thrown at the drinks and as they shatter, the reaction of the participants a “real” reaction is recorded.


Shin’s “Crash Test Reality”, hit a heart chord for me because I have lost friends due to drinking and driving and this representation reminded me of feeling I have both suppressed and held onto in memory. The technique of the videos brought in a connection beyond the typical viewer and presentation, Shin utilized technology to create a new environment that I also have experimented with to record these very human reactions, except he used three dimensional video to display the spectacle in a way I couldn’t have imagined. I also appreciated the amount of thought that was put into the piece as far as presentation, interestingly he chose to use both two dimensional video as well as a three dimensional experience. I felt more connected to the three dimensional work as it created more of a feeling and the experience of being in the car crash, on the other hand the two-dimensional work was more like watching a short film about crashes.


The interesting thing was that even though it was a slow motion video the reactions of the people seemed very un-natural and slowed strangely more so than it really should have been. My friend made a statement that arose some interesting thoughts about this subject, he said, “ Its strange that people are reacting slowly to the “crash”, because if you think about it, its like a car crash in which you don’t realize that its even happening until its actually all over.” I started to think of the choice that Shin included when he used glass as the thing being smashed through. I began to recall the events of a car crash, the slowed reactions the shock of what just happened and the interaction of the object being crashed into as well as the object crashing into the object, I thought of the human reaction to these events and how he painted a picture of a car crash without ever being directly in a car.


The other piece that I really enjoyed was the other that Shin created including another high definition video panel. It was the video that was playing on it that was the most appealing though; I recognized part of the toy that was apparent even though it was halved, as one of my childhood toys Astro Boy. The title of the piece was, “Approach the truth-Astro Boy”. This was an interesting experience just like the crashing piece right next to it. Shin recorded a toy mounted on a metal or wood grinder being ground down to just dust specks. In presentation the video was reversed so that the boy was almost recreated from the dust, which was an interesting take on destroying an object. I didn’t really get the meaning of this piece but I can feel there being an idea of the death and birth of objects, the creation from nothing becoming something that is recognizable and maybe the ease for the object to be destroyed.


Moving along the walls there was another piece that caught my eye, this time the artwork was by Jaye Rhee, called “Cherry Blossom”. I enjoyed the nature of this piece in the fact that it wasn’t exactly as I thought it was, at first I thought the pink things on the screen were flower pedals; man was I wrong. In fact this video was a timepiece in which people or someone would throw pieces of chewing gum onto the ground, and then the disturbing part, is that they just left it. This piece is humorous to me because I hate when I step on gum and this is very irritating because I felt tricked into thinking that flower pedals were falling; I saw it as some beautiful thing, only to my surprise I was disgusted by the true nature of what was really happening.


I felt that each project that I saw was used to trick me in some way. The video installments really made me feel connected to the works, I felt like I was in a car crash and I was reminded of the temporary nature of material objects. I watched as the floor was covered with “cherry blossoms” only to find that the pretty pink things were pieces of chewing gum being discarded by several people. I felt like I was being torn between a feeling of fleeting existence and materiality. I appreciated the new methods in which these pieces were presented and the nature of the messages behind the presentation. I found it interesting that a younger generation is displayed as the technological age and that this played into the contemporarily of the works; being of the younger generation I was gravitated toward the shiny new video panels and the three dimensional adaptation of the slow motion work. All the works within this exhibition went well above and beyond making substantial attempts at creating a contemporary multi-media experience. I was absolutely impressed with everything I witnessed in the gallery and am looking forward to more contemporary works of art from these artists.


Cite it

“CU Art Museum.” CU Art Museum. Web. 16 Apr. 2012. <;.

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