Finding Me

Exhibition by Haru K, Jeong Jin Gab, Lee Jo Heum, Lim Nam Jin 

2 – 30 August 2014

H.J Kim (Mite-Ugro, Curator)

The development of technology started today’s virtual reality era. It is not even necessary to mention the movie Matrix, the virtual aspects can be easily found from our everyday lives. In the analog society (reality), there were rules (ex. law, policy, or personal discipline). The rules (ex. law, policy, or personal discipline) built individuals, societies and nations based on local, environmental, and cultural characteristics. That is how each nation, society, and individual could contain their own characteristics. On the other hand, the virtual reality era has taken away the boundaries among nations, societies, and individuals. Today’s people have access to live news from all around the world, and they can communicate with no boundaries by the help of SNS. Because of the ability for accessing to a number of information and sharing the information, personal information or characteristics no longer exist.

Polish sociologist Zygmunt Bauman calls such changes of today’s society as liquid modernity because of its instability. It is important for an individual to collect a number of information to survive in this fast changing society, and the virtual reality makes it possible. However, such information and knowledge are different from the ones in the past obtained by personal experiences. The individuals in today’s society can earn a number of information and knowledge, but their inexperienced information and knowledge is nothing more than what others have also. After all, the liquid society, the inexperienced information and knowledge bring us questions about the meaning of each individual’s existences.

This Finding Me exhibition introduces visual stories of the artists’ questions for finding their identities through their personal experiences and thinking. These artists experienced the time when nations shared their cultures with each other and the analog turned into the digital. In this exhibition, the artists who experienced the fast changes will exhibit their artwork created by various ways about their chaos from the time.

Lee Jo Heum talks about individuals’ existences in societies and communities.

Individuals are special in a society, and they want to be recognized as each individual. However, in today’s reality, individuals are not recognized special or different from others, and they get frustrated time to time. The artist is showing the oppressions from the society and the personal desires on one scene. His 3 Types of Humans work expresses humans with basic shapes such as triangles, squares, and circles, and through the expressions he talks about individuals who wish to be treated as an each specially characterized human being. The precious each-character of humans no longer exists in this society. His work Social is a humorous piece that talks about today’s society that analog reality is more important than virtual reality, and how the artist felt from the society; the artist has displayed the artist’s backside figure in the middle of many hero characters.

Lim Nam Jin’s artwork talks about his feelings from his life through self examination.

In the fast changing contemporary society, no one has time to look back their lives because of the efforts they spent for surviving. It is the endless work and meeting people that can settle down people’s heart. In such society, it is not easy to find one’s original nature. That is why today’s people are in need and in instability. For the incomplete beings to have their own identity, it is the endless thinking and self-examinations that they truly need. Plus, just like there are various ways of living a life, self-examination does not necessarily has to be certain ways, but by individuals’ facing themselves and thinking. Nah-hahn-do shows various human natures in today’s society. Nah-hahn is the title for Buddist disciples who are at the most high level. The portraits of human natures that the artist found from today’s society becomes Nah-hahn in the artwork and the work talks about the true human natures that today’s people should find through self-examinations and thinking.

Jeong, Jin-gab focuses to the violent characters of today’s immature humans.

Today’s people are immature. Today’s society says that high ranking university and job, expensive house and car are what decide a good life. To achieve such success, today’s people miss the chance to be educated to gain fundamental humanity. After all, today’s people grow up as immature ones even when they are grown up and play roles in societies. When the immature humans’ desires face limits from the society, they simply frustrate. And at the end, the frustrated desires turn into violent expressions. Such violence focuses to others who are weaker than him/her, and as he/she does the same violence to the others, it rotates. The artist has created an immature human self based on the violence that he experienced when the artist was young and based on his violent behaviors afterwards. The artist’s this type of artwork often gets created with a child who is in between immature and mature along with sharp pencil drawings that represent violent behaviors toward outwards. This work, which is based on trauma is provocative about today’s human beings’ violent characters and it is self-examining.

Haru’s paint-like works are about today’s extreme culture.

Not like the past, today’s extreme opposites such as the east and the west cultures, virtual reality and analog reality, logics and emotions, spirit and body, etc. have inter-crossed to each other and co-exist at the same time and place. In this chaotic situation of the extreme opposites mixed each other, individuals often lose its identity. Through this delicious landscape painting series, the artist talks about finding identity in the middle of the society’s changes. This is because identity comes not from one value but from mixed values. The artwork shows the east and the west, spirit and body, the co-existing values on one canvas. Furthermore, this artwork expresses the message with nature landscape and food. When art stimulates and maintains a spirit,  food supplies and maintains a body. On one canvas, nature landscape has been painted in Asian style, and food has been painted in western style; by doing so, the conflicts and integrations in between the two different painting styles have found a beauty, and it is similar to how today’s society is.

Today’s changes do not belong to any one nation, society or individual. Also, there are no absolute answers when finding identities. Finding Me exhibition would like to investigate today’s Korean artists’ try outs so that we could ask the question to our audience.

“Do you know who you are?”