Exhibition Paper

Exhibition paper

Keeping it Real: Korean Artists in the Age of Multimedia Representation

Lucas Grund

The gallery at the CU art museum, Keeping it Real: Korean Artists in the Age of Multimedia Representation, struck me as something out of a Alice in Wonderland esque world. Everything was turned on its head and seemingly counter intuitive. It was a new, distant, crazy world that I had just stepped into but a welcome one. The pieces, while seemingly quite different from each other gave the whole gallery space a perplexing, yet not unwelcome feeling. Assaulted with visual images of louis armstron and a cartoon from my childhood, astroboy left me in a confused and almost surreal state yet it pleaded with me to come closer and inspect the wild machinations of this wonderland.

The piece by Kiwoun Jin was by far the highlight of this exhibition for me, Astroboy being perpetually grinded. I couldn’t help but chuckle to myself as I thought, when will I ever see something like this again, the destruction of a child’s plastic toy action figure. What a surprise when the video began to run in reverse and I was enthralled to watch this boy super hero is destroyed and rebuilt again and again with an almost devious sense of glee. All the while Lois Armstrong sets the mood of the past being destroyed but of a hopeful future. After my initial glee wore off of watching the figure get destroyed it was an almost sad spectacle. A beloved Icon destroyed by the machines that created him lost to dust. But even that wore off as it began to rebuild itself. It was as if this dumb little plastic toy had more power than the grinder. It made me angry and furious. I almost wanted it to stay dust. It was as if it were an embodiment of consumer culture no matter how far you tried to slip away from it, it just kept coming at you, in your face, no matter how hard you tried.

Other pieces that peaques my interest where the giant sabretooth tiger that was made from the old and discarded, recycled tires as well as other industry materials. Its visage was ready and fierce it was leaping forth from the trash born anew and with greater ferocity than it ever could have possessed before. This was  Jaguar 4, made by Yon-Ho Ji. Its fiersome demeanor was almost a warning, as yon-ho puts it, “about the dangers of our obsession with science, technology, and industrialization” the materials that we as humans create, and discard can be and are a great threat to us as a species, physically and socially. They can destroy our relational ties as we get more and more removed from one another by putting electronics in front of our interactions. And they can hinder our future physically as we pollute the world with our waste.

The largest piece in the exhibition was Sun K. Kwak’s Untying Space. This piece stretched from the entrance far along a curved wall. This piece remined me of surreal paintings by dhali if they had happened to have been painted in the traditional Japanese ink painting style. Large flowing lines twisted and turned as they floated rather rhythmically across the gallery space. These lines were plastered on the wall with tape of all things, and as a viewer examines it more closely the lines become rigid, as if created by polygons in a 3d model. The rigidity of the piece as with 3d models disappears as the viewer backs away from it and observes it as a whole.

The entire gallery space was a sight to see. Its many, many different styles of works all forged a sort of unity when they were displayed together and worked well in expressing the theme of technology and the surreal. It was a walk through a wonderland of industry and technology fused into a singly hyper-realistic hybrid of reality. It will be an experience that won’t soon be forgotten.

One Response

  1. I havent been to this exhibit yet, but the description you gave provided a really good idea of the art. I particularly enjoyed your description of the various works and the overall look and feeling of the exhibit. You did well providing some analysis, not just an overview and I really want to go see the art now. overall, it was an enjoyable read, not only of the specific pieces, but of the exhibit as a whole.

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