Critics’ Picks

Yeondoo Jung, Crayon Pop Special, 2014, mixed-media installation with performance and sound, dimensions variable.

Yeondoo Jung, Crayon Pop Special, 2014, mixed-media installation with performance and sound, dimensions variable.

Seoul

Yeondoo Jung

PLATEAU, Samsung Museum of Art
55, Sejong-daero, Jung-gu
March 13–June 8, 2014

Yeondoo Jung’s “Spectacle in Perspective,” curated by Nayoung Cho, is the artist’s first museum-scale solo exhibition in Korea since his being named Artist of the Year by the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in 2007. Along with his early photographs, the exhibition presents one of Jung’s recent experiments with media technology, Virgil’s Path, 2014, and a collaborative performance and installation, Crayon Pop Special, 2014. Though the artist has introduced elements of advanced technology into his show, he maintains his interest in an age-old concern: the dreams and fantasies of ordinary people.

Virgil’s Path is a virtual sculpture experienced via Oculus Rift, a head-mounted device originally designed for 3-D games. Deployed in front of Rodin’s imposing sculptural groupThe Gates of Hell, 1880–1917, part of the museum’s permanent collection, the device almost completely covers a participating visitor’s field of vision to create a virtual reality that overlaps with the actual scene of the sculpture. Looking through the headgear, gallerygoers watch Rodin’s hundreds of looming bronze bodies slowly transform into fleshy graphics that almost appear to be at arm’s length.

If Virgil’s Path speaks to the destiny of human beings, whose desires and guilty passions are constantly unfulfilled, Crayon Pop Special is a kitschy homage to this tragic human drama. The work consists of a performance video that features the middle-aged male fans of an actual K-pop girl group, Crayon Pop. Outfitted in the ridiculous helmets and quirky tracksuits favored by the stars, the corps of “uncle fans” cheer enthusiastically to the instrumental accompaniment of Crayon Pop’s hit songs. Next to the video is a large stage outfitted with lighting and sound equipment, forever prepared for the arrival of Crayon Pop. The fans’ dream—to obtain full access to their idols—won’t come true, but their unquenched passion nonetheless livens up their mundane lives.