Three rising artists in joint exhibition

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Three rising artists in joint exhibition

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Of three rising artists ― Ham Jin, Kim Sang-gil and Bae Young-whan ― currently holding a joint exhibition, “Three Stories,” at the prestigious PKM Gallery in northern Seoul, Oh Shi-ne, the gallery director says, “Two common characteristics are that they have never studied abroad ― unlike many young-generation Koreans ― and that they use Korean modern society as the main motif in their works.”
Bae’s series of five pieces, titled “Man’s Way” (2006) and displayed in the gallery basement, incorporate old, discarded junk items, such as a sewing machine, dressing tables, broken furniture and the like. His installations are assembled to look like guitars. They symbolize Korean middle-aged men, who used to control their families, but have degenerated as financial supporters of their households, with their authority weakened. Bae, 37, tried to express the spirit of people on the margins in the 1970s and ’80s; such a spirit, Ms. Oh explained, could bring out nostalgia in viewers in their 40s.
Ham Jin, who is known for his micro sculptures, worked with canvas for the first time in this show. He took aerial views of Korean cities and theme parks and transferred those images onto canvas, after which he added tiny sculptural pieces. His intention was to examine the competitive and rapid tempo of our lives from a distance, or from an objective point of view. Of his five works, “City on a Bomb” (2006) is the major piece, made on the surface of an unexploded shell, which he acquired from Maehyangli, the former U.S. Air Force bombing range. Ham, 28, asks the viewers to take a moment to look at their lives from outside and makes them realize how oblivious they are to the dangers that lie beneath the surface of their lives and throughout the country. He satirizes contemporary citizens, who are too busy to care about ongoing wars or other people’s afflictions.
Through photographs titled “Motion Picture Series,” Kim Sang-gil also expresses his view of modern society. He took pictures of models posing as characters from movies, and the images look more like advertisements with foreign brands featured centrally. The 32-year-old artist criticizes capitalism by bringing to viewers’ attention how often we are exposed to direct and indirect advertisements, while remaining oblivious to that fact.
When asked about the significance of the art works, Ms. Oh said, “The three artists empower viewers to think about the reality of current situations and our own lives in a concrete way.”


by Sun-young Chang

The exhibition finishes today. Admission is free.
PKM Gallery is open daily except for Sundays. Opening hours are from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The closest subway station is Anguk, line No.3, exit 1.
For a map or more information, call (02) 734-9467 or visit the Web site, www.pkmgallery.com.
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