Danish art duo change reality in manipulated photo images

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Danish art duo change reality in manipulated photo images

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“American artist Robert Smithson once wrote that there is something abominable about cameras because they possess the power to invent many worlds,” said Peter Doessing, one half of the Danish artist group AVPD, which was in Seoul last week to participate in an exhibition titled “Realities.”
Supported by the Arts Council Korea and held at the Factory gallery in Changsung district, northern Seoul, “Realities” has AVPD members Aslak Vibaek and Peter Doessing stretch the boundaries of photography and its ability to create a new kind of space. The project group formed in May 1997 and has done various projects and exhibitions related to the subjects of humans, machines and space.
With the help of hi-tech photo editing and digital cameras, the duo took Mr. Smithson’s statement to the next level, to constitute a total of 12 photographs that have been altered to show new realities that cannot fit into any one geographical or cultural context. “The exhibition is an experiment of the artificial construction of what is reality and what is not,” said Mr. Doessing, while explaining that many things can be artificially constructed, “even retouched pictures in Cyworld.”
The exhibition is divided into three series of works each with separate titles, “Terrain,” “Caravan Cabin” and “Hallways.” In “Terrain,” AVPD reworked a series of pictures they shot at different museums of natural history and included a painted surface. In other words, the photos are divided into a foreground and a background, the foreground a three-dimensional scene including trees, leaves, stones and rocks, and the background a two-dimensional painted surface.
The “Caravan Cabin” series shows partial images of caravans taken out of context. Three large frames each hold collages of photos of parts of a caravan, each focused on small details, such as a wheel. The images create a new form ― or in the words of AVPD, “a new detached world.”
“Hallways” features photographs of underground metro stations in Copenhagen, Denmark, in which details, such as the door handles or fittings, have been digitally erased.
“We erased things that hint towards a person’s movement,” Mr. Doessing said. Through this series, the artists said that they tried to treat real space as if it were computer game space ― “where it looks surreal and inverted.”


by Cho Jae-eun

The exhibition is held from Aug. 25 to Sept. 17 at the Factory gallery. The gallery is open from Tuesdays to Sundays, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The nearest subway station is Gyeongbokgung station, line No. 3, exit 4.
For more information, call (02) 733-4883 or visit www.factory483.org.
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