Artists bring holiday cheer from New York
코리아헤럴드|기사입력 2007-11-23 10:01
Korean artists who have made their mark in New York are showcasing their work in Seoul this winter season. From single channel videos to ginormous sculptures made out of thread, this winter`s lineup of Korean artists lives up to the world capital of art`s reputation for promoting a diverse marketplace of ideas, styles and mediums.
According to art director Kim Min-jin, almost 2,000 Korean artists are currently living and working in New York. And with growing international interest in the works of Korean artists, the time is ripe for Seoul`s art world to take a look at what they have been up to.
This winter, ongoing exhibitions of Korean artists from New York can be seen everywhere from a gallery situated on Garosugil to the Seoul Arts Center Hangaram Design Museum.
Hangaram Design Museum`s "Contemporary Korean Artists in New York" is a good way to take in a lot of different artists from the Big Apple in one sitting. From well-established greats like Kang Ik-joong and Bae So-hyun to up and coming stars like Kim Shin-il, this exhibition offers viewers a varied selection of art from 19 Koreans.
While the current recognition abroad for these artists harbors great significance in itself, the true merit of this exhibition lies in the works. Lim Choong-Sub`s "Tarae" (2005-2007), a gigantic rib of thread that is connected to a moving machine, daunts with its sheer size but also draws the viewer in with its delicate intricacy.
Park Cheo-Reom`s "Cheozumi" (2007), an eerie series of digital prints of corpses trapped in silicon and decorated with Yakuza tattoos, will chill even the most morbid at heart. The artist`s bold choice of a red background for his stall, draws viewers from across the room towards this macabre display of bubbled bone and flesh.
Things are not what they seem when it comes to Cho So-Yeon`s "Self-Portrait" (2007), Han Kyung-Woo`s "Red Cabinet" (2005) and Kim Shin-il`s "Active Anesthesia-the full of square" (2007). These three works trick the eye and play with the mind.
From afar Cho`s work looks like an ethereal, glowing flower, but up close her blossom is a sculpture made out of white plastic forks and q-tips. And Han Kyung-Woo`s live video installation leaves viewers struggling to solve the puzzle presented to them on the TV screen. The answer to which will remain secret for those who plan on going and figuring it out themselves.
Last but definitely not least, Kim Shin-il`s use of hot and cold media provides a moment of deception, wonder and self-reflection. His riddle proves the point: nothing is what it seems. And something mind-numbing and commercial can actually be something beautiful when seen in a different light and structure. After a field trip to the Seoul Arts Center, a little foray to Garosugil is the perfect way to continue to enjoy the works of these Korean artists from New York. Chae Tong-yull, though currently residing in Washington State, made his mark in the East Village during the 1980s.
His works, currently showcased at the Philip Kang Gallery on Garosugil, revive bold complementary colors with its use of thick yellows, reds and deep purples. Former bartender Chae used hot wax painting to create these heavy works.
The textured layers of chalky pigments seem to pop out from the wood canvas. And the voluptuous nudes juxtaposed with his plump vessels impart a sexuality muted by the bright colors. To add to the loudness of his art, his past journeys into the seamy side of life seem to impart a rough tipsiness to the landscapes.
And though no longer available for viewing, New York based artist Jaye Rhee held a solo exhibition of videos and images at Gallery Factory near Gyeongbok Palace through Nov. 18.
Rhee, who has showcased her works in group exhibitions in Chelsea and the Bronx, takes a satirical look at tiled paintings in public baths in Korea through "Swan," posing the question: is this art?
Her single channel video "Pampering," accompanied by a song from a CD titled "69 Love Songs," pairs pink and white satin Playboy bunny ears with q-tips and clouds. And she recreates musical notes with people clad in black in her eight channel video "Notes."
After all, this New York based art, the question remains: why the Big Apple? As a hub of contemporary art, New York is an ideal place for these artists to compete with the best in a strong marketplace of art. The rat race itself forces artists to evolve quickly and peak, making it an international hotspot for creators, purveyors and buyers of art.
According to artist Chae, "One competes with other artists (in New York.) It`s almost like a battle."
The Seoul Arts Center Hangaram Design Museum`s "Contemporary Artists in New York Exhibition" runs through Dec. 21. For more information call (02) 580-1276.
Chae Tong-yull`s solo exhibition runs through Nov. 27 at the Philip Kang Gallery located on Garosugil near Apgujong Station. For more information call (02) 517-9092 or visit www.philipkanggallery.com
By Jean Oh