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Three Mechanisms of the Stage: Invitation to the Secret

There are numerous points at which theater and art intersect. The first point is the making of multifaceted identities through a masquerade show of the artists and actors. This 'becoming an other' creates a rupture in the stereotypes of reality through producing an unfamiliar collision images. There are also metaphorical aspects of the stage: it is a method of making the stage a part of another world by isolating a fragment of reality and bestowing it with wholly different rules. On the other hand, there is also the way of casting a metaphor on the frame of the stage rather than its content. This method consists of detecting the identical function in the canvas frame, camera frame and theater stage, and transfiguring that function into a boundary between real and illusion, life and art.

Chun-Wook Park_Alaska Zebra_120x150cm_Pigment Print_2009


All three approaches are evident in the art works in the exhibition Stage Reality. Bae Chan-hyo's photographs, based on his experiences as an Asian student in primarily caucasian environment, transform the Asian male into 18th century Caucasian noblewoman. Bae's works might seem a little cliché in the aspect that it deals with generic polarity issues of the East/West, feminine/masculine; however, the attention to detail and sense of humor offsets the banality. Unfamiliar yet somehow befitting, the odd noblewoman's disguise illustrates how easily an image can become familiar to the viewer. Bae's photographs mobilize the first method, while the works of Chun Sung-myung, who creates a kind of theater that shows a stage of dreams and subconsciousness, utilizes the second method. Despite the absence of other settings besides a few grey-toned figures, Chun's pictures seems unfamiliar and completely separated from reality. They seem mysterious yet familiar, because they are scenes that have been extracted from personal dreams and memories. It might perhaps be that the underlying fear of such scenes might be due to the fact that they are already so familiar.

Works by Chang Pa and Park Chung-wook utilize the third method. With glitzy colors and bold lines, Jang's images seem to brew dramatic narrative, and the speed of colors and gloomy black house on red hill outside the window suggest that the images are scenes seen out from a vehicle window. Glimpses of the driver's gaze are caught in the back mirror. The scene depicted on the window, image in the back mirror and landscape outside of the window: these three different space entangle into one, creating an effect of a stage within a stage, capturing a unique sense of tension as if to foretell something that is about to happen.

Park's works play an important role in expanding the theme of the exhibition beyond its generally conceived notion. At a glance, his works look like frames of a photograph within a photograph. For example, in the work Alaskan Zebra, a picture of zebra is placed in the aisle of a mo a theater. There doesn't seem to be anything noteworthy beyond the unexpected juxtapositon of these two elements. However, in realityographzebra in the picture is actually a three dimensional sculpture of zebra which has been cut to be perceived ay a thexact same size of the photograph within the photograph. Thus what is perceived is not a part of the zebra sculptureeeeut its whole. The photograph of a table with pencils and notes is otogosed in the same way. He overturny a thconventional notion ahat a photograph just captures a part of reality, and shows how the frame of photograph itself unites with the frame of reality.

Hyun-Mi Ryu_BW_Composition_156x200cm _C-print_2009


Lastly, Yoo Hyun-mi's works is a combination of three abovementioned methods relating to theater and art. In her work, the suspended numbers, unstable piled up books and roller blades on a chair forming a risky diagonal composition all seem to suggest an unfamiliar constitution that's independent from reality. On the other hand, they also follow a method of disguise/modification in the sense that they are ambiguous in identity and raises questions as to if they are paintings, photographs, flat or sculptural. The matters in the photographs are actual objects in the artist's studio. Yoon painted them as if to create depth in flat surface, then photographed them. Through this process, ordinary objects of real space enter three different frames: the frame of reality, frame of painted space on canvas, and the frame of space in photograph.

Cho Seon-ryoung Independent Curator

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Posted by EYEBALL_Media Arts Webzine


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