American installation artist brings the great outdoors inside

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American installation artist brings the great outdoors inside

Visitor's shadows become part of Jennifer Steinkamp's video installation ’Retinal 1, 2“ (2019). [Leeahn Gallery]

Visitor's shadows become part of Jennifer Steinkamp's video installation ’Retinal 1, 2“ (2019). [Leeahn Gallery]

American installation artist Jennifer Steinkamp’s solo exhibition “Souls” offers a place to take a closer look at beautiful natural scenery.
 
While many people have incorporated technology, like playing a video of a campfire or ocean waves on a projector screen at home to compensate for not being able to travel amid the current Covid-19 pandemic, “Souls” illuminates the beauty of nature by incorporating 3-D computer animation software.
 
Once visitors enter the dark exhibition hall, they are naturally drawn to a projector screen that stretches into a room-sized environment. The HD video installation offers the detailed and lively movement of a natural object as if it's being viewed under a microscope. As soon as a shadow is cast, one becomes part of the work. By blurring out the boundaries between art and technology through interaction, Steinkamp’s animated installations create a unique virtual reality where viewers can be completely immersed in the digital landscape.
 
Jennifer Steinkamp's "Blind Eye 4“ (2019). [Lehmann Maupin Seoul]

Jennifer Steinkamp's "Blind Eye 4“ (2019). [Lehmann Maupin Seoul]

Steinkamp has been producing large-scale video installations that deal with trees, flowers, the sky and other organic forms in realistic motions.

 
“I am fascinated by software’s ability to create ideas we would never conceive of in the natural world,” Steinkamp said.
 
The exhibition highlights her important position as a leading artist in the field of digital animation and as a pioneer in conducting experiments that fully digitize images, colors, textures and movements.
 
She transforms an existing space that is as plain as a white wall into artwork by realizing the colors and movements of nature through the reflection of light using 3-D rendering techniques. She first draws the images digitally and then uses software to render her work. With technological advances, she updates her work with more pixels and higher resolution by formatting the original work.
 
 Jennifer Steinkamp's ’Primordial, 1“ (2020). [Lehmann Maupin Seoul]

Jennifer Steinkamp's ’Primordial, 1“ (2020). [Lehmann Maupin Seoul]

“Her video installations are dimension variable — she measured the wall dimension of our gallery to design a screen that perfectly fits the wall so that the viewers can completely immerse themselves into the full screen,” one of the host galleries, Lehmann Maupin Seoul, said.
 
Co-hosted by two galleries in Jongno District, central Seoul, “Souls” introduces six of her video installations, which consist of her new work, “Still-Life 4” (2020), “Judy Crook 12, 14” (2019) and her “Retinal 1, 2” (2019) at Leeahn Gallery and “Blind Eye 4” (2019), “Primordial, 1” (2020) and “Daisy Chain Twist, tall” (2004) at Lehmann Maupin Seoul.
 
Jennifer Steinkamp's ’Daisy Chain Twist, tall“ (2004). [Lehmann Maupin Seoul]

Jennifer Steinkamp's ’Daisy Chain Twist, tall“ (2004). [Lehmann Maupin Seoul]

The title of her representative installation “Judy Crook” series is named after Judy Crook, whom Steinkamp was inspired by when she was a student at the Art Center College of Design and Pasadena City College. Through “Judy Crook 12” and “Judy Crook 14” (2019), viewers can experience the four seasons that a typical tree goes through in just a few minutes.
 
Jennifer Steinkamp's "Judy Crook 12“ (2019). [Leeahn Gallery]

Jennifer Steinkamp's "Judy Crook 12“ (2019). [Leeahn Gallery]

“Steinkamp looks to nature by simulating changes in nature with a unique infinite cycle,” Leeahn Gallery said.
 
In an endless cycle, flowers bloom in spring, green leaves sprout in summer, leaves turn red in autumn and trees shed their leaves in winter. The continuously moving images of the tree are rendered realistically, which allow visitors to feel the ideals of infinite life.  
 
Jennifer Steinkamp's "Judy Crook 14“ (2019). [Leeahn Gallery]

Jennifer Steinkamp's "Judy Crook 14“ (2019). [Leeahn Gallery]

Inspired by the vanitas still life paintings of Flemish artists in the 17th century, which had a message of “Vanitas vanitatum, omnia vanitas” — meaning earthly life is ultimately empty and meaningless — “Still-Life 4” is a reinterpretation of still life paintings that expresses timelessness in the earthly life. The graphics of fruits, flowers and plants that constantly move provide plenty of vitality that show the continuous nature of all things.
 
Jennifer Steinkamp's ’Still-Life 4“ (2020). [Leeahn Gallery]

Jennifer Steinkamp's ’Still-Life 4“ (2020). [Leeahn Gallery]

“The video installations of Steinkamp featuring the timeliness of life will lighten up the mood for viewers who are struggling from the so-called corona blues amid the prolonged Covid-19 crisis by giving a positive message that there is never an end but a continuous beginning,” Lehmann Maupin Seoul said.
 
The exhibition will be held until Oct. 31 at Leeahn Gallery and Lehmann Maupin Seoul in central Seoul.
 
 
BY KIM YEON-AH   [kim.yeonah@joongang.co.kr]

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