■ Tears of Glaciers, 2009 ■
About "The Tears of the Glaciers”
Prof. J.K. BAEK (College of Arts, Gongju National University)
From July 2 to July 8, an artwork of rare installation concept has been on display at the 2nd floor showroom of IGONG Gallery located in Daeheung-dong, Jung-gu of the Daejeon City. On the hardwood floors of the 99m2 area, the ends of a very large vinyl tent base (9mx12m) were tied with ropes and attached to the surrounding walls with a 1-m displacement, which was filled with approximately 700kg of crushed ice. While the ice melts over a 3 to 4-hour duration, the transition of ice to water is used as a screen to project a close-up of a face of an unknown woman, and the image over the crushed ice looks like a very detailed pixel- image. It looks like a still image at a glance, an then suddenly the woman begins to shed tears with a very troubled expression.
The white fabric hanging on the walls within the dark gallery resembles icy walls of the Arctic, or the Antarctic. It also reminds the audience of the high peaks of Mt. Himalaya or Everest. After the visitors are finished viewing the pictures of flowers (the writer’s art works) hanging on the first floor of the gallery, they move on to the second floor to see a large white fabric, hanging faintly in the dark. This piece proposes an <“End of the World” Project> type of message, not a primitive nature of high-snowfields.
By now, wouldn’t the readers understand what type of artwork it is, and what its message is? Such concerns lead me to draw attention to another area because it would allow for the expression of the reality of the art world through the columnist’s insights regarding the status and reality of the art world, influences on ethics according to changing situations, the writer’s current situation, or techniques of miscellanies.
It seems like decades since critical terms such as “Avant-garde” or “Experimental” disappeared in the modern art reality. Since some time ago, selling an artwork for a high price has become the standard of measuring an artist’s success, riches and honor. Some artists personally publishes a thick autobiographical art compilation to manage their personal profile, while others prepare personal workshops and ateliers in the high-technological culture industry to display their commercialized production system. These are examples of incredible era of aesthetics that we are living in! I honestly confess that I am rather confused very often.
It’s one thing for established artists who are responsible for a generation of art culture to be involved in such behaviors but it is very sad to see blooming artists (students) who are dreaming of becoming successful artists in the future are making an effort to prepare sale events at their graduation exhibit. They are joyous over the fact that their works have been completely sold out, while the school uses such results to promote the school reputation. It is indeed a sad reality. Isn’t it about time to establish liberal arts lecture classes, such as “Artistic & cultural duties and responsibilities of established artist” in order to reflect on the crooked and distorted the portrait of Barroccio in our generation? This is said to at least maintain our reputation and spirit.
I am not asserting that artists need to live in poor conditions to stand by the romantic pledges and principles. Artists are burdened not only by the weight of reality but they also have the task to overcome the cultural conflicts of capitalism, and to respond wisely to the given reality. This fact acknowledges that the being an artist for a living is very tiresome and exhausting. Therefore, while it is important to consider economical well-being and social establishment, we must not forget to face the artistic & cultural duties and responsibilities given to the artists of our generation. I’ve come to a sudden realization and understanding of the well-known phrase, “not anyone can draw.”
Keeping such circumstances of the art & culture industry in mind, the artist, YOO Dongjo is preposterous and whimsy at times, and also reckless and stubborn in many areas. I’ve overlooked such strengths of his until now. However, would it be an overstatement to say that his recent display of such appearances is honestly at a level of eccentricity? Otherwise, the theory which is like the government is pushing a national campaign to help artisan, used even today is very naughty. Nevertheless, aren’t his bright ideas and wit rare examples that are hard to find? His ability to stay optimistic and positive towards many issues of the world is an encouragement to us all.
No one expected that such an artwork would be produced by him, who felt very uncomfortable for days prior to the exhibit. It may have had a greater impact on me because I wished to express my encouragements and support for him. “The Tears of the Iceberg” allows viewers young and old to immediately understand its meaning. And Mr. Yoo’s display of various actions implies many things for me, the writer. Also, it is a masterpiece in the fact that it paradoxically conveys an empathetic lesson to people who are called artists by others and themselves in the art industry. Furthermore, the fact that this piece does not degenerate to miscellanies, even if a heteronomous narration of the installation piece’s “iceberg” is intervened, is another attractive aspect of the piece.
14th July, 2009