Sometimes a fantasy: Art on the edge of reality

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Sometimes a fantasy: Art on the edge of reality


“Innocent I” by Kim Hyun-soo is part of an exhibition called “Fiction & Nonfiction” that explores the boundaries of realism in art. The exhibition runs until April 14 at Interalia Art Company in southern Seoul. Provided by Interalia Art Company

The boundaries of realism in art are tested in the new exhibition, “Fiction & Nonfiction,” at Interalia Art Company in Samseong-dong, southern Seoul.

Through 70 paintings and sculptures, 11 Korean artists interpret realism in their own way. The exhibition is divided into two segments according to the exhibition’s title - fiction and nonfiction.

The artists in the fiction group - Kwon Kyung-yup, Kim Hyun-soo, Park Kyoung-ho, Lim Soo-sik and Choi Xooang - put everyday subjects into abnormal situations, creating a fictional narrative in their works.

“Their [the artists in the fiction group] brand of ‘realism’ is shown not in a direct portrayal of an object, but through the artists’ own ‘real’ narrative, which traverses the line between reality and fantasy,” said Kim Ga-hyun, senior curator at Interalia Art Company.

“In this way, the works are close to hyperrealism.”

“Breik,” a sculpture in the fiction segment by Kim Hyun-soo, shows a young boy who breaks one of the antlers growing out of his forehead. He looks at the broken antler with a sullen stare while holding firm to the other antler, as if he wants to break that one off as well.

“The artist mixes mythological motifs into his works to convey a hyperrealistic subtext,” the curator said. “In ‘Breik,’ it seems almost as if the boy is breaking off his antlers to delay his own growth and remain a boy forever.”


“Cactus No. 53” by Lee Kwang-ho

In Lim Soo-sik’s photomontage series, “Chekgado,” the artist reassembled various photos of bookshelves belonging to artists, poets and friends to a create new bookshelves. The new bookshelves look like separate, almost otherworldly entities, consisting of windows and random artifacts from the past and present.

“When I visit someone’s place, the first thing I look at is the bookshelves. You can see right through a person when you look at what books he reads,” Lim said. “I wanted to reassemble the bookshelves that I most enjoyed going through and create fictional bookshelves that could be like someone’s vague memory or dream.”

The works by the artists in the “Nonfiction” section - Kim Yong-seok, Do Min, Park Sung-min, Lee Kwang-ho, Lee Jung-woong and Choi Young-wook - rely on a direct, highly detailed depiction of their subjects to express their own perceptions of beauty and emotion.

In Park Sung-min’s oil painting series, “Ice Capsule,” blueberry and cranberry plants are frozen inside blocks of ice.

“Through this series, the artist is trying to convey an image of beauty, at its peak, frozen for eternity,” said Kim, Interalia’s curator.

Similarly, in a series of oil paintings of dice titled “Fortune,” artist Do Min conveys a message of fate and luck through glossy, realistic drawings of red-and-black dice.

*The “Fiction & Nonfiction” exhibition continues through April 14 at Interalia Art Company in Samseong-dong, southern Seoul.

The gallery is open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and is located near Samseong Station, line No. 2, exit 5.

For more information, call (02) 3479-0114 or visit the Web site at

By Cho Jae-eun []
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