kim, dong yoo

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Savina Museum Kim, Dong Yoo 2007



  • ArtVitamin ()


    KCCommunications 1996.1.20 1-1971

    2007 .PrintedbyKCCommunications

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    2007. 5. 30 - 6. 30



    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,

    active systems.

    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

    plentiful meanings.

    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

    and camouflage.


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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

    frustrated desire.

    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 a habit

    of identity) that we try to reconfirm the conceptual image in our mind through

    a canvas? As if subverting this kin


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