Gallery Asks, 'Does Modern Art Have a Message?'

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Gallery Asks, 'Does Modern Art Have a Message?'

The latest exhibition at Sungkok Art Museum in Shinmunro, downtown Seoul, is one with a difference. None of the works on display are by professional artists. The people behind the works include a television producer, a technician, an advertising director, an animator and an obstetrician.

It may seem a risky venture for the gallery, particularly as this exhibition marks its fifth anniversary.

But the exhibition, titled "I Am Not an Artist," expresses the conviction of the gallery that modern art has long lost its sense of direction, its creativity and its ability to contribute to meaningful discourse about the world.

The gallery said the best art it has been able to acquire recently have been flashy works in new technological media, devoid of a serious message. Curators said this led them to ask what professionals in the new media could do.

A modern Korean musician, Lim Dong-chang, presents a satirical "sound sculpture." In a live performance, he brushes a paint brush against traditional Korean paper. He said this was a comment on today's "flippant" modern art.

A computer graphics team from the Munwha Broadcasting System presents black and white photos of the faces of athletes in the Sydney Olympics, depicting a depth of emotion and attention to detail the team says cannot be found in full color technical pictures.

Lee Young-gyu, an animator, has created a video of an animated, speaking 3D figure of the famous actor Song Gang-ho. He said he was critiquing public obsession with celebrity.

Hwang Nam-gyu, a molding manufacturer, created "Ultra Mania," a large tin plate bust of the Korean pop star, Seo Taiji. He said his work is a satire of "objet" sculpture.

Choi Ung-gyu, a collector of folk objects, has created an exact reproduction of the room that appears in Van Gogh's painting "The Bedroom."

Kim Seok-bae, a doctor, has some photo collages on display.

Yoon Sang-jin, a curator at the gallery, said, "By shattering the illusion that is created by these high-tech artists, we wanted to ask about where the true value of art lies.

"Those who agree with the concept of the exhibition have contributed their expert skills to parodying this art."

The exhibition runs through Jan. 20.

by Cho Hyun-wook

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