SEOKMIN KO: Strip Show
Opening Reception: Wednesday, October 22, 6-8pm
Art Projects International is pleased to announce the opening of Strip Show, a new series of photographs by Seokmin Ko. Strip Show follows Ko’s widely acclaimed series The Square and is the artist’s second solo exhibition at the gallery. On view from October 22 to December 20, 2014, the exhibition will kick off Asian Contemporary Art Week in New York City.
Seokmin Ko’s new series of photographs Strip Show, of buildings and structures in rural and urban landscapes, brings to mind his previous series, The Square, of landscapes and cityscapes in which a mirror (held in the central part of the landscape photograph by a figure mostly hidden by the mirror) reflects back to the viewer more of the landscape—never the photographer. In one of the recent Strip Show works, a large featureless blue building rests amid scrub on the far end of an empty dirt lot. In another, a stark white volume (also windowless) is set across a green field and surrounded by trees that only come partially up the building’s height.
What decisive moment has Ko captured? What relationship has Ko established with his viewer? These massive, often unvariegated structures look digitally generated, plopped into photographed landscapes. But they are not. This is the moment: the real becomes a not-so-convincing phantom of itself. Ko plays on the sophistication of the contemporary eye that can discern CGI in a nanosecond. In front of Ko’s photographs, the eye calls fake and the artist responds, “not so fast.”
Ko takes pains to find his decisive structures; a logo may be stripped from the final image, but the viewer, too, could leave the gallery and locate each of the depicted environments. Back in Ko’s photographs, structures are caught between archetype and screensaver—a bronze skyscraper sits in the Seoul skyline like a toy. A massive, aging, industrial wall wraps around a foreground of grass and lush vegetation, its faded, pied coloring the backdrop of an endlessly postponed video game battle. The photographs, having stopped the viewer, return to their original art function. They facilitate reconsideration of the world that remains after androids blink. For viewing assistance, to step sideways, Dan Graham’s two-way mirror pavilions can be utilized; the Ko photographs, also, reflect the viewer’s expectant gaze, provoke consideration of the future, and are both portals and transformative objects.
The exhibition is accompanied by a fully-illustrated catalogue with an essay by Erik Bakke.
SEOKMIN KO (born 1984 in Gunsan, Korea) currently lives and works in Seoul, Korea. Recipient of many prestigious awards including the 2012 SongEun ArtCube Artist award, Ko represents a new wave of young contemporary artists working in South Korea. His first U.S. solo exhibition The Square was presented in 2012 at Art Projects International, New York. Currently, his works are included in Altering Space at the Southwest School of Art, San Antonio, Texas, in conjunction with 2014 FOTOSEPTIEMBRE USA. Recent museum exhibitions: Seokmin Ko: The Square, SongEun ArtCube, Seoul, Korea, 2012; Testing Testing 1.2.3.: SongEun Collection of Korean Artists, SongEun Art Space, Seoul, Korea, 2012; Parentheses, Hong-Ik Museum of Art, Seoul, Korea, 2012. Selected collections: Fidelity Corporate Art Collection, Boston; and SongEun Art and Cultural Foundation, Seoul, Korea.
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