Critics’ Picks

View of “Osang Gwon,” 2016.

View of “Osang Gwon,” 2016.

Seoul

Osang Gwon

ARARIO GALLERY SEOUL
85 Yulgok-ro, Jongno-gu
July 7–August 21, 2016

Ten pieces from Osang Gwon’s series “The New Structure,” 2014–, pack the gallery’s basement floor. Finally presented together for the first time, their structures redefine the space to make a dynamic interplay possible between the visitors and the works.

Gwon’s best-known series, “The Deodorant Type,” 1998–, offers a response to sculptural convention. In order to avoid the heavy materials traditional to his medium, such as stone or steel, the artist has built up an armature of a human figure with a Styrofoam-like material and pasted thousands of detailed photographs on its surface. This blending of photography and sculpture blurs the border between image and object, between two-dimensional illusion and three-dimensional materiality.

“The New Structure” is an outcome of the artist’s ongoing interest in photosculpture and its formal construction. Alexander Calder’s “Stabiles” served as Gwon’s main source of inspiration, especially in their organic structure, abstract forms, intense presence, and sense of stability. Following Calder’s example, Gwon composed his own materials, then added enlarged photographs of objects he collected from Wallpaper, a UK-based magazine of architecture, design, and fashion. The outcome is a compelling accumulation of glossy images of well-crafted things such as shoes and forks. Modernist sculpture’s aloofness is replaced by the lighthearted enjoyment of contemporary leisure and consumption: according to Gwon, a means to “show the here and now in which we live.”