중앙데일리

Double the images gives Kim fame in multitudes

June 04,2007
Painter Kim Dong-yoo speaks about “Silver Sunflower,” a serial repetition of Van Gogh portraits. By Limb Jae-un
From a distance, a Kim Dong-yoo painting looks like a large portrait, but a closer look shows that it is actually a grouping of repetitive portraits. Another portrait that looks like Van Gogh is actually a combination of images from the Dutch painter’s “Sunflower.”
The double-image paintings, as they are known, have brought Kim international fame.
His painting “Marilyn Monroe vs. Chairman Mao” fetched 323 million won ($347,300) at the Christie’s Asian Contemporary Art auction in Hong Kong in May 2006.
The success of less-established painters such as Kim in top international auctions has had a wide-reaching effect on the local art market. Many collectors and galleries have begun taking an interest in young painters’ works, which had been rarely sold before.
And Kim has been at the center of attention.
“I was interested in double images and visual effects,” said Kim, 42.
Kim tried experimenting with visual effects in his paintings. He created optical illusion paintings, which can be folded and unfolded on pleats. The paintings look different from each point of view.
In 1999, he began double-image paintings with images of Korean politicians such as Park Chung Hee, painters such as Van Gogh and celebrities like Marilyn Monroe.
He used computer graphics to create a larger portrait made up of many small portraits, then painted it on a canvas.
“It is a very labor intensive and time-consuming process,” Kim said.
Before he became famous, he worked part-time for a living, like most artists. He taught students in private institutions and colleges. How many pieces did he sell before the auction in May 2006? “There were so few that I could almost count them,” he said.
“Only two to three years ago, paintings by young painters weren’t traded. Painters based outside Seoul and those who didn’t go to high-profile art schools weren’t noticed,” he said. Here in the local arts scene, young used to mean 50 or younger.
“People used to have a fixed idea about art. Painters needed to be old and have a college certificate from a good school,” Kim said. “Nowadays, even people who are fresh out of school can sell their work.”
Kim has seen his paintings rise in value recently. The prices have almost doubled since the Christie’s auction in May 2006. Kim’s paintings, as large as 200 centimeters (6.5 feet) by 80 centimeters, are sold for about 26 million won in Korea. He has sold almost 50 double-image paintings since then.
He recently came back from Hong Kong, where he attended a preview of another Asian Contemporary Art auction by Christie’s. Posters containing images of his paintings were plastered near the entrance or in other very visible locations of the hall where the preview was held, he said.
Two of Kim’s “Sunflower” paintings are already reserved for the next Christie’s auction in November. The two paintings are being displayed at an ongoing exhibition at the Savina Museum of Contemporary Art.
Asked what he thought about his instant fame, Kim said, “I did not come here in one day. I was already known in the art scene. It is just recent that I became publicly known.”

A private exhibition of Kim Dong-yoo’s paintings is being held at the Savina Museum of Contemporary Art in central Seoul. The gallery opens at 10 a.m. and closes at 7 p.m. The exhibition continues through June 30. For more information, call 02-736-4371/4410, or visit www.savinamuseum.com.


By Limb Jae-un Staff Writer [jbiz91@joongang.co.kr]



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