dong yoo kim
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THE FACEKIM, DONG YOO
KCCommunications 1996.1.20 1-1971
THE FACEKIM, DONG YOO
2007. 5. 30 - 6. 30
THE FACEKIM, DONG YOO10th SOLO EXHIBITION
2007. 5. 30 () - 6. 30 ()
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Kim Dongyoo appropriates stereotypical images in his work. He
appropriates kitsch, clich and popular images. Through a method of
disorientating such appropriated images, the images and their significance
get subverted. Then the subverted meaning derives new meaning while
disturbing general and clear readings of his paintings. Hence, this subversion
develops into a play of significance, an illusion play, kitsch paintings, butterfly
paintings, dual-image paintings (portrait painting series). The coordinates of
meaning engage with each other and proliferate the images and their
Playing with Meaning. Conceptual artist Joseph Kosuth talks about themeaning of a chair in its lexical, actual and photographic representations. He
also discusses the meaning of a hammer in the same way. Through the
suggestions, he causes the viewer to question where (true) meaning of a chair
or hammer might lie. In Kim's case, he presents an actual palette and the
photo of the palette in its actual size, and a realistic representation of an actual
palette.(Plate 1) Or he presents an actual LP record cover, and the photo of the
cover in its real life size and a realistic painting of the cover. And he asks that
among which of these constructs the truth of the things.
In this question, there is recognition of unity or disunity concerning the
relationship with meaning that indicates the truth and the truth as a given
condition. The recognition of unity is a determinate recognition that truth
and meaning correspond to and agree with each other as one to one in
closed, complete, self-sufficient, and inactive systems. The recognition of
disunity, on the other hand, is an indeterminate recognition that makes
innumerable differences in semantics, rather than corresponding to each
other as one to one relationship supported by open, incomplete, concerned,
Reality is an objective truth, but meaning is a subjective truth. The
coordinates of reality are fixed, but those of meaning are flexible. This
becomes more obvious in incorporeal reality than corporeal reality, and
Kim Dongyoo's painting_the reconstruction of meaning and Clich
Kho Chunghwan (Art Critic)
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axiological meaning than appellative meaning. However, the recognition of
the fact that reality is objective and its coordinates are fixed is justified only
at the level of mere belief. Phenomenology clarifies that even the Idea of
Platonism (the idea as ultimate reality) is inferred based on sensible
experiences. It is only a reflective image of living experiences. Therefore, the
image of an idea is already the result of image perception. And the sphere
where these sensible experiences or living experiences unfolds can be a
sphere where all the contrasting significances are clash and make
distinctions between each other and produce differences. In other words, it
is a semantic sphere.
Kim's questioning of the relationship between reality and its meaning
renounces the recognition of identity and accepts that of non-identity. It points
out that not only the meaning but also the coordinates of reality are not fixed,
or that new meanings can be born through heterogeneous situations given in
every moment, and even meanings can be corrected by each and every
situation. Reality is only one, but the situation, proposition and incoherence
that reality confronts are not. And these unlimited sorts of situations produce
Optical Illusion Play. We often see many different forms of walls at arestaurant. Among those, there is an accordion shape wall, which can be
folded and unfolded with its pleats. Kim Dongyoo paints on a canvas, which is
modified after this accordion shape wall, and then the painting can have
different appearances from each different viewpoint. From one point of view,
there is a bamboo forest, and from another it shows a tiger in a bamboo
forest. With the bamboo forest background, a tiger appears and disappears.
Therefore, the picture looks as if it is mobile.(Plate 2) The hidden or moving
image seen from different angles can even cause dizziness. This kind of
dizziness is definitely from the vivid optical illusion effect in Op art.
However, if one says the Op art was a result of abstract art and formalism
based on repetitive patterns, Kim's art would be distinguished by the fact that it
has a form of representation. In this way, the artist is accomplishing a
camouflage effect. As a matter of fact, camouflage was already mentioned in
impressionist painting. From a distance, the shape is visible, but close up, the
only thing we see is meaningless paintbrush strokes and chunks of paint: a so
called concept of proper distance represents the relationship between painting
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In this painting, Kim points out that after all painting is a game of a hide and
seek with regards to the revealing and hiding of images and meanings. In
general, aren't artistic projects for revealing the invisible on a visual plane? In
addition, it can be said that the reading of paintings that are seen differently
from each different perspectives can be subjective given the differences
between each individual's point of view. This is connected to the
communication theory that focuses on the subject of the audience rather than
on the subject of the creator. On top of that, moving left and right to be able
to see a painting or experiencing dizziness for optical illusion expands the realm
of formative art beyond the merely visual.
Kitsch Painting. A broadcasting station in the United States once did asurvey on upper-middle class people about what kind of artwork they would
like to put on their walls. After they compounded the results, the majority
wanted a kitsch painting. A reindeer on a prairie with a quiet lake. An endless
fir forest surrounding a prairie with snow covered mountains in the
background. These stereotypical compositions can be clich or a utopian ideal,
a longing for a sort of artificial paradise; a projection of contemporary people's
Kim Dongyoo paints on top of Korean style commercial paintings, which can
be called Korean style kitsch. Possible compositions might be a thatched
cottage with a water mill, a Korean national flag flying in the sky with passive
pigeons representing peace, or butterflies flying around a splendid vase.
Butterflies might return a sense of reality, which the commercial painting lacks,
or otherwise, it can emphasize the unreality of the painting.(Plate 3) However,
Kim's artistic attitude of interaction and interference with and appropriated
stereotypes is not kitsch at all.
His reacting to stereotypes with stereotypes seems to be related to a sort of
double negative (connecting to the positive through the negative) or
disorientation. Through this, commercial paintings get two layers, which makes
the paintings look familiar at the same time quite strange. This is related to the
attitude of recognizing the existence of kitsch and returning its authenticity to
itself rather than denying and destroying it. A stereotype for a stereotype, a
clich for a clich, and kitsch for kitsch. Through such processes the work
makes a reverse effect and semantic paradox. In other words, his kitsch
paintings are about how surrealism that aims to present unexpected narratives
countermoves toward the transposition of objects in avant-garde style,
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furthermore, it suggests its practical theory.
Butterfly Painting. On canvas, butterflies are flying inland one by one.Sometimes they come densely, sometimes sparsely, and they embroider some
shapes of a thinking Buddha, a portrait of Van Gogh or Lee Jungsub, and a
Velasquez's portrait of the Pope.(Plate 4) To be more precise, these are only the
shapes of images: only implications. Then why butterflies? The shape
constructed by butterflies does not look firm. As they gathered to make the
shape, they look like they are going to scatter away and break it. How come
these images of such simple accumulation of butterflies get recognized as a
shape? Isn't this a result of our habitual acknowledgement (so to speak