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Gallery Hyundai
122 Sagan-dong, Chongro-ku,
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Window Gallery
by Gallery Hyundai
Location: Gallery Hyundai
Artist(s): Jaeho JUNG
Date: 25 Aug - 14 Sep 2010

Between Documentary and Surrealism
Once the object is obtained, Jung builds his painterly completeness while looking at the object as an objective existence or re-perceiving it in a world of fantasy. In «Old Apartment Building»(Keumho Museum of Art, 2005), he observed and investigated citizen apartments, which were products of insane redevelopment in the 1970s, through a documentary method of approach, dealing with them as objective existences, while in «Ecstatic Architecture»(Gwanhun Gallery, 2007) he stacked up single-story houses into layers to recompose a surreal accumulative structure. But that does not mean that he pursued only single methodology in each solo exhibition. Though the centers of weight are different, the “documentary approach” and “surreal approach,” which seem to contradict one another, are mutually supportive in his works.

While Jung Jae-ho works on a foundation of “reality” based on thorough examination of materials, he does not present this directly. Painting does not necessarily have to paint misery as misery, and representing the object realistically does not make the object inter the realm of “reality” either. Furthermore, just because the “reality” is not presented realistically, it does not make the context of “reality” disappear. The works where “reality” is revealed directly include Hoehyeondong Monument, Daesung Mansion, Cheonbyeon Hotel, Cheonggye Tower and Changshin Tower, as seen in the titles and realistic depiction of architectural structure. But his works actually jump way out of the context of “reality.” Singlestory buildings are repeated or accumulated into gigantic structures of mass as in Jeoksan Tower and Hyundai Game Center, or visual worlds are compromised with nonvisual worlds, as in the Old Apartment series. Such attitude may be called “bone energy,” as it does not represent the visible surface captured by the photograph, but the “odor of life” permeated in the surface.

Father’s Day and My Day
According to Freud, whether it is a small slip of the tongue or a more severe symptom, repetition is the returning of what is oppressed. In «Old Apartment Building» and «Ecstatic Architecture» Jung Jae-ho repeatedly used subjects which became the modifier “old.” But as we have discovered earlier, Jung emphasizes the “odor of life” in them, rather than the “old” objects themselves. Then what is being repeated in his works is in fact on the “old” objects, but their “odors of life” they acquired while dwelling around us. The recent «Father’s Day » clearly reveals the aspect of “odor of life,” which has been repeatedly used (but used as an addition while focusing on “reality”).

The backbone of this exhibition is the documentary photographs from the 1950s to the 1980s. The photographs include the Japanese-style Gunsan Branch building of Choseon Bank, the wall of the Labor Party Building containing the scars of the Korean War, downtown Pyongyang, small aircraft for reporting, elections for the First Republic, opening ceremony for the Seoul-Busan Expressway, Jeonnam Provincial Building in May 1980, Shilmido, Shinchon Station and Dongducheon, selected from the complex constitution of Korean modern history. They are ghost-like images, which existed in the present and are now gone, but nevertheless continue to intervene in reality. But the works completely deviated from such reality. Unlike the artist’s previous works, the titles do not indicate certain subjects, and the pictureplanes are presented minus elements that indicate specific objects.

From [“You are Leaving the Town of Mujin. Good Bye.”],
by Lee Daebum (Art Critic)

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