2023. 8. 1 - 9. 9 | [VISIT] OCI Museum of Art
이정근_Temptation trap_steel, powder coating, archival pigment print_145×160×320㎝_2023
On a steel sphere covered with sharp steel thorns, a rectangle image resides. Carefully looking into the image, while trying very best not to be captured by threatening thorns, you face with a ray of light that reminds of an exit of the endless dark cave or cold ruins. A pedestal made of steel sheets supports this rather massive sculpture to be called a frame. It has a ring to make itself easy to move or install and takes a functional form with minimised decorative element as can be seen in industrial sites.
이정근_너네 집에 가는 길(On my way to you)_aluminum, stainless steel, steel, powder coating, museum glass, archival pigment print_80×80×190㎝_2023
Away your gaze to the other scene, visualised mobility of vertical thin lines project rainfall. While the flat image explores texture through vertical strokes, this surrounding steel frame creates visual contrast by spiral scratches marked by rotating grinder. Besides, the image of three sculptures leaning against each other and balancing is put to 4-steel legged frames and the frame again leans on the wall or the floor, next, the image of finger doodle on wet window is installed in the aquarium-shaped frame. The ambiguous image of an object and the situation around these various frames build relationships and push meanings of each other at the same time.
이정근_Water world_archival pigment print (part 1)
〈Almagest+Rover413〉(2022), 〈My Giraffe Drawing〉(2022) and other new works introduced in Lee Jeongkeun’s solo exhibition, 《SUPERNATURAL》, are extensions of his previous works expanding his frames in functional and industrial direction to protect his flat dimensional image. His works are overall steel sculptures called to be “frames” carrying steel images. Lee Jeongkeun’s current forms of work, sculpturally installed photography, are derived from his realisation of vulnerability of the medium. His studio was once flooded and his works framed in wood were badly damaged. This series of event made him obsessed with solid protective device and concentrated on the shell that surrounds the image. After the incident, his frames became obsessively hypertrophied, yet his works stay with characteristics of photography that records time and light. He moved beyond his former way that searched sites to capture invisible atmosphere or time with light and used objets to indirectly visualise, now he rather creates steel frames and gives it movement from mechanical device. He still takes photography as his major medium actively using the essential quality of the medium to visualise invisible or transparent elements. His recent works more highlight the frame itself than the image.
이정근_비오는 날의 청소(Cleaning under rain)_stainless steel, steel, glass, archival pigment print_150×120×10㎝_2023
In visual art history, frames have been delivering protection to the artwork along with decorative aesthetics and convenience of handling. However, these frames paradoxically brought the result in separation between unexpected space such as walls and narratives of the artworks. Lee concentrates on independent frames’ functional beauty, its decorative element, and ambiguous relationship between exterior and interior rather than spacial storytelling. The artist relates his ‘exaggerative frames made of dazzles and angular shapes of metal and the perfect picture planned for the most splendour’ to Supernormal Stimulus which is the exaggerated stimulus compared to actual one. 〈On the way to you〉(2023) and 〈Temptation trap〉(2023) in the exhibition the most exposes his intentions. The work achieves its presence by its excessive property and form but ironically it needs extra careful attention not to be carried away with stimulation in order to see the image in the frame. The frame can be defined as surface or shell. 〈Water world〉(2023) and 〈Leaning Statue+Nip in the bud〉(2021) particularly shows such relationship between the sculpture and the image.
이정근_눈좀 패스해줘(Honey, would you pass me the snow？)_stainless steel, museum glass, archival pigment print_110×87×5㎝_2023
It occurred to ask myself if photography today is so vulnerable that it needs to be protected by giant physicality. Some artists focus on the characteristic of photography which is capturing objects, however traditionally photography tended to convey artists’ message through image taken on the thin surface like photography prints. Photographic paper is made after process of dissolving wood fibre from tree bark or grass, setting them back to flat to make paper, and
coating it with photoresist to chemically react. Traditionally photographers have been capturing dissolution and recombination of physical property or invisible elements such as light or time on a single image. However, capturing momentary light or object by optical sensor of smartphones became daily routine and images are explosively produced and consumed through various platform projecting desires. Photography is still a powerful medium in terms of image production and consumption but it does hands its initiatives too easily to external environmental property or clickbait.
The monsoon rain goes by for days and the chilly breeze from the air-conditioner fills the windows with water drops and steam. As much as temperature gap between indoor and outdoor, Lee Jeongkeun’s image strategy, blocking the properties and the images of matters with transparent window, doesn’t parallelise or converge in one direction. The artist gave independent identity to the steel frame after experiencing fragile wood frames in flood, but he neither admits nor denies the irony that exaggerated stimulus he created rather takes control from the real object he wanted to project on the photograph. This may be because he accepts image consumption of today while he wants to hold his original belief in ‘invisible and transparent matters’ and ‘uncatchable time and visualising faith.’ I wish you hold your grip tight to pay attention to the artist’s image strategy and his attitude towards photography medium away from fascination of fragile image encased in grandiose rind.
OCI Museum of Art
45-14, Ujeongguk-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul, Korea