Seeking the real character of images – RE: presentation & production
Mi-jin Kim (Exhibition Art Director, Seoul Arts Center & Associate Professor, Graduate School of Art, Hongik University)
The photos taken by Han Sungpil capture the moments of the present, past, and future in which travelers visiting across the world will find themselves in a distinctive world of scenes and buildings between time and space. Fine arts have developed from realistic and visual reproduction, via the presentation of discoveries and objects, the dismantlement of installation and concepts that present a certain situation, being freed from soul and material, to free postmodern mobility of media. Han Sungpil attempts to employ photos to understand the relationship between reproduction and presentation and between reality and illusion, over which artists have languished in the past at all times.
Han has carried out the facade project from 2004. The project concerns the real pictures or photos of monumental buildings under re-construction or of printed dustproof curtains hung around construction sites, which he met during his travel to each country. The photos of real construction scenes are sublimed from realistic reproduction to art since the photos were taken, in a good atmosphere created in time, by appropriately employing real lights and artificial illumination from the boundary between day and night, so that people may feel the traces of men without any form. As Henri-Louis Bergson says, photos are always to remember the past or a kind of memory-images. However, the photos taken by Han Sungpil describe the gap of time, which comprises the present where the reality is reproduced and the future where the reality is restored.
The works displayed in this Seo Gallery exhibition are composed of the photos of surfaces of buildings and internal spaces of them, of installations that miniature the internal scenes, and the miniatures, for the purpose of correctly exploring the substance and structure of the images of observers and experienced persons. Moreover, the photos of the lobby of the South Jeolla Province government office are pictures of the surrounding and external scenes of the office put on the steps of the lobby, pictures of inside the steps, and the pictures of the installations. The artist says that the photos reproduce and create realities. In this mass media world, it is not easy to really understand the realities of the times when images are flooding over. The works are the results of the artist’s experimental exploration into this society, which is compared to what Jean Baudrillard calls the reality lacking of the reality, in the network of symbols and marks, and/or to what Roland Barthes calls the society of human beings who do not have their body but just eyes.
The photos taken by Han Sungpil are serious works that leave bare the issues of inside and outside, time and space, observer and producer, reproduction and images, and realities and dramatic situations and then combine them. The formative language used for Han Sungpil ‘s rich concepts, colors and shapes results in very beautiful visual photos. It is because what may easily look stiff is added with vigor by appropriately using artificial and natural lights and by hiring winds. Han’s photos demonstrate sophisticated and stabilized beauty by way of the harmonious rhythms of plays of many concepts and multiple layers of senses. Han Sungpil is a developing artist who is seriously experimenting on the steps in the history of fine arts comprising the record photos to be stored in archives, the art of discovery along with flashing sensitivity, and internal approach. He is such a capable artist as to be expected to propose a new art.