Artist obscures virtual and real

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Artist obscures virtual and real

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Paraguay is not very well known to Koreans, probably because it’s about a 36-hour trip from Seoul to Asuncion, requiring transfers in both the United States and Brazil.
But the paintings by Hernan Miranda, originally from Concepcion, Paraguay, don’t look foreign, particularly the painting titled “Korea” that depicts the uniform of the Korean national soccer team that was worn at the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
“I am a big fan of soccer. I was so impressed by the red waves on the streets that I observed in 2002 when I was in Korea for an exhibition,” the 46-year-old painter told the JoongAng Daily during an interview on Thursday at the Galeria Bellarte, central Seoul, where his solo exhibition is being held.
“The paint expresses the passion of Korean people for the sport,” Miranda continued. “The whole nation seemed to be united as one during the period regardless of their political creed or economic status. One of the biggest problems in Latin America is that the people can’t unite,” Miranda said.
The painting is one of a series he is making of uniforms of national soccer teams. “I started the series because I felt sorry that I couldn’t go to Germany during this year’s World Cup,” he said, laughing. He has also finished depicting the Paraguayan and French uniforms.
The title of the exhibition that displays Miranda’s 28 works is “Lo Real y Lo Virtual (The Real and the Virtual).” As the title indicates, the pictures look realistic, making observers wonder if the lace-work in a work is actually there or just painted (lacemaking is a traditional art of Paraguay, Miranda said), or if the nails and letters in some paintings are real or not.
Miranda also used wooden board, cardboard and printed cloth as canvases, as well as regular oil canvases. For “Peras,” he painted on a printed cloth and made the cloth a part of the picture, obscuring which is the cloth and which the painting. For “Jose Asuncion Flores Homanaje,” he used wooden board, but also copied the board’s characteristics. The painting is of a pair of sandals hung from a nail on a board. “I painted some wood grain on top of the real wood. Even for me, I need to touch the paint with my fingers to discern which grain is real and which I drew,” Miranda said.
Asked if there is any special meaning in the nudes in some of his paintings, Miranda answered, “Not really. I just think nudity is part of nature. In this busy, consuming culture, I sought beauty in very simple objects that can easily be found around us. And nudity is just one of such objects.”
This is Miranda’s third visit to Korea. He said he prefers calligraphy out of all the Korean arts he has viewed as he can get the idea of the calligrapher’s mental state from just one line.
Miranda said that he figured many of his preconceptions about Korea were not true, but he enjoyed observing a new culture and felt he understood the country and people better after visiting.
Federico A. Gonzalez, the ambassador of Paraguay to Korea, said at the opening of the exhibition on Friday that he expects Miranda’s exhibition to further strengthen the excellent relations existing between Korea and Paraguay.
“I truly believe that art is the most noble means of bringing countries together. There are no language barriers and no obstacles. Only pure artwork can act as a cultural bridge between nations,” Mr. Gonzalez said. “This year marks the 41st anniversary of Korean migration to Paraguay and I know that this exhibition will be instrumental in further promoting cultural exchanges and building up mutual understanding between our people,” he added.

The exhibition runs until Sept. 15 at Galeria Bellarte. The gallery opens from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., but is closed on Mondays. Entrance is free.
For more information, call (02) 739-4333.


by Park Sung-ha
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