Surreal videos with profound messages, or not

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Surreal videos with profound messages, or not

To the average person, watching a video clip of a woman dressed in white crushing a pile of strawberries until her clothes are soaked red with fruit mush might not sound too appealing.
But if that scene interests or frightens you, you have just begun to appreciate the world of “media art,” a type of avant-garde installation art.
The work in question is by Korean artist Lee Ha-na. Titled “Stain,” the piece aims to depict the socially and sexually unbalanced role of women. In getting from strawberries to feminism, a good place to start is with the strongly contrasting colors of red and white, says Kim Yeon-joo, the curator of the contemporary art exhibition “The Media Parade,” currently on display in Daehangno, northern Seoul.
“What’s important is the visuals and how you feel, rather than what the author tries to symbolize in ‘media art’,” said Ms. Kim. “That’s how it is understood in Europe and Japan anyway.”
“On the other hand, Korean critics have a tendency to add philosophical messages to each work, particularly when it comes to expressionism.”
That could be one reason why Korean and Japanese media art are different from each other, say critics. While Ms. Lee displayed ambiguous images resembling a bleeding heart (or was it a ball of yarn?) to try to convey her social message, Hotchi Kazuhiro, a Japanese artist who also participated in the exhibition, was more straightforward with his pretty animation of clip of dolphins swimming.
Mr. Kazuhiro’s work was considered cute and easy enough for the general public to follow, so NHK used it last year on its music program,“Minnano Uta.”
“Its an example of how media art could be used commercially as well,” said Ms. Kim. “But that’s not the case yet here. It’s more of an artsy thing.”
“The Media Parade” exhibition features two Korean contemporary artists, Lee Ha-na and Park So-hyeon, and two Japanese artists, Kazuhiro Hotchi and Chiyuki Kojima.


by Lee Min-a

“The Media Parade” will be held until Jan. 19 at Gallery JungMiSo. The gallery is near Hyehwa station, line No. 4, exit 2. For more information contact: 02)743-5378 or visit: www.galleryjungmiso.com.

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