BAE JOONSUNG - Albemarle Gallery .The European Museum is a significant concern of Bae Joonsung....

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Transcript of BAE JOONSUNG - Albemarle Gallery .The European Museum is a significant concern of Bae Joonsung....

  • BAE JOONSUNGThe Costume of the Painter

  • BAE JOONSUNGThe Costume of the Painter

  • the cross-cultural alchemistDr. Iain Robertson, Head of Art Business Sothebys Institute of Art

    Academic oil painting, which was once a staple of every self-respecting European collection, fell out of fashion with the arrival of Modernism. The ramifications for the works of once prized artists like Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, and Lord Leighton, whose magnificent houses complete with cupolas, were testimony to their contemporary fame and wealth, was almost a century of neglect. Today, these great masters of technique and composition are embraced by a new generation of Asian collectors, particularly in China, where two Alma-Tadema mythological paintings sold recently for multi-million dollar sums.

    The Korean artist, Bae Joonsung, grew up with a passion, not for the masters of Korean painting, but for the work of these European Classicists. He enrolled in the oil painting department of the prestigious Seoul National University and began to investigate the aesthetic building blocks of the art of the Salon. His solution to vanishing point perspective, perhaps Europes greatest contribution to Asian art, was to offer a variety of visual possibilities through the introduction of a lenticular, so that a work like Phantom in the Painting, J.S.Sargent family jk (No.14) cleverly disturbs the logical prism of perspective by transforming the painting within the composition into a multi-point visual puzzle. The choice of Sargent, particularly the ghostly J.S. Sargent Back (No.21), is interesting in its own right. Sargent was himself an migr. He studied at one of the many private Parisian studios and, exceptionally for a foreigner, gained entry to the cole des Beaux Arts, where he learnt to paint swaggering portraits of flneurs and society women. The painting, Phantom in the Painting, J.S.Sargent family hn (No.7) is adapted from the American artists group portrait of The Sitwell Family (1900). Bae has replaced the towering figure of Lady Ida Sacheverell Sitwell with a lenticular of a diminutive Korean woman, thereby distorting the composition, interfering with the perspective and also transforming the meaning of the scene by introducing an alien element. The Asian interloper is clearly out of time, out of place and, in her unclothed state, sorely lacking in fin de sicle social etiquette.

    The many images of neo-Grecian women, notably Madame Recamier, that are captured by the great Classicist, Jacques Louis David, is eluded to subtly in Baes painting, Phantom of Museum Gm, J.L.David red shawl hn (No.1). The graceful insouciance of the phantom-like Asian female lenticular observing herself through a mirror into which a gallery visitor is gazing, while to the left another glass reflects a seated form of a second Asian woman, in the pose of Nude from the back (1808) by Ingres, also created out of a lenticular, is a visual pun with a rich historical lineage. Velazquez introduced a small mirror (until 1688 technical limitations meant that mirrors were diminutive) on the surface of which we see reflected the head and shoulders of the King and Queen. Goya suggested the existence of a much larger mirror outside the confines of the picture in his portrait of Charles IV and family, and Manet played with our eyes and intellect in A Bar

  • at the Folies-Bergre (1882). Visual trickery is again at work in the painting, Phantom of Museum L. W. House Pandoras Box (No.15) in which we see human statues adopting neo-Classical poses, but also an allusion to the piercing of the interior, pictorial space in the form of a doorway opening into another room, a device which was a pre-occupation of the seventeenth century Leiden fijnschilders. The introduction of still-lifes into his most recent oeuvre seen to good effect in Still life with human image vase 060608 & Still life with flowers (No.19), re-enforces Baes attachment to Dutch and Flemish art from the golden era.

    The European Museum is a significant concern of Bae Joonsung. Museums represent Western cultural hegemony, and Bae confronts both his own and Asian acquiescence to Western art and its values in a series of works dealing with these cultural institutions. In Frames M W1 (No.12) and Frames DR W1 (No.9), with characteristic humour, he rebelliously inserts an Asian woman lenticular into a wall of established nineteenth century portraits. In B.Board I (No.6) it becomes a chiaroscuro. In Garden I (No.4) and Garden II (No.11), the museum walls are impregnated with a vaguely oriental landscape that enfolds the paintings, suggesting Arcadia, and in the form of the standing contra-posta foreground statue with its back to the viewer, the eighteenth century European realisation that there is beauty in landscape. The artist also implies in these pictures that the aesthetic ambitions of Europe in this regard are shared in Asia. The works in which the artist introduces audiences into the museum, such as Phantom of Museum L, Nike with bouguereau js (No.3), share the intention of the Dsseldorf photographer, Thomas Struth. Struth was concerned with human behaviour within the museum, a place where crowds congregate to gape but rarely look carefully at pictures. The bustling crowds are barely aware of the Greek Goddess of Victory or its doppelgnger, a Korean woman masquerading as Nike. Visitor eyes gaze into the middle distance, unaware of the visual wonders that are unfolding before them. In a final twist to the Museum series Phantom of Museum K, Red Wall Sketch Girl (No.2) a child covers the floor of the gallery, the pictures of which are arranged like those in Zoffanys Tribuna of the Uffizi (1772-7), in what appears at first glance to be graffiti. Further inspection, on the contrary, reveals that her scribbles denote the work of the abstract calligraphers, whose work is in polar opposition to the paintings that line the walls, but are now confined to the same mausoleum - in order to be labelled art.

    The concerns of Bae Joonsung are, on one level, whimsical, but ultimately, like the Korean photographer Atta Kim and the Chinese Political Pop oil painters, he is questioning his own artistic allegiance. Why is it that a contemporary Korean artist is so drawn to the high art of Europe at the expense of his own culture? Within this riddle lies the answer not just to meaning in Baes art, but to a pan- continental, social phenomenon that is at the very heart of contemporary art dialogue today.

  • lenticular + oil on canvas

    Lenticular technology refers to a sheet of acrylic lens consisting of an array of optical elements called lenticules that create a convex perspective of multiple images. When viewed from different angles, different areas under the lens are reflected to the viewer. Views are spliced and arranged under the lens so that each eye is projected a different view. The brain then processes these views to a single coherent 3D, Flip or Animated image. Lenticular sheets consist of lens grooves on one side with coating on the back for printing interlaced images. From the lenticular lens groove side, we can see a very thin line of the image on the other side of the lenticular sheet, and this image lines location is determined by the observers view angle. If an image is printed at each lens interval, the observer will see different images when looking from different angles.

  • 1 The Costume of Painter - Phantom of Museum Gm, J.L.David red shawl hnlenticular and oil on canvas 182 x 259 cm (72 x 102 in)

    andyTypewritten TextClick here to view animated lenticular image in your web browser (6mb)

    andyTypewritten Text

    http://www.albemarlegallery.com/gif/phantomofmuseumgmldavidredshawlhn.gif

  • 2 The Costume of Painter - Phantom of Museum K, red wall sketch girl lenticular and oil on canvas 227 x 182 cm (89 x 72 in)

    andyTypewritten TextClick here to view animated lenticular image in your web browser (4mb)

    http://www.albemarlegallery.com/gif/phantomofmuseumkredwallsketchgirl.gif

  • 3 The Costume of Painter - Phantom of Museum L, Nike with bouguereau js lenticular and oil on canvas 162 x 227 cm (64 x 89 in)

    andyTypewritten TextClick here to view animated lenticular image in your web browser (4mb)

    andyTypewritten Text

    andyTypewritten Text

    http://www.albemarlegallery.com/gif/phantomofmuseumlnikewithbouguereaujs.gif

  • 4 The Costume of Painter - Garden I lenticular and oil on canvas 182 x 227 cm (72 x 89 in)

    andyTypewritten TextClick here to view animated lenticular image in your web browser (5mb)

    http://www.albemarlegallery.com/gif/garden1.gif

  • 5 The Costume of Painter - Museum K, Pygmalion lenticular and oil on canvas 227 x 182 cm (89 x 72 in)

    andyTypewritten TextClick here to view animated lenticular image in your web browser (5mb)

    http://www.albemarlegallery.com/gif/museumkpygmalion.gif

  • 6 The Costume of Painter - b.board I lenticular and oil on canvas 130 x 194 cm (51 x 76 in)

    andyTypewritten TextClick here to view animated lenticular image in your web browser (4mb)

    http://www.albemarlegallery.com/gif/b.board1.gif

  • 7 The Costume of Painter - Phantom in the Painting, J.S.Sargent family hn lenticular and oil on canvas 130 x 162 cm (51 x 64 in)

    andyTypewritten TextClick here to view animated lenticular image in your web browser (5mb)

    andyTypewritten Text

    http://www.albemarlegallery.com/gif/phantominthepaintingjssargentfamilyhn.gif

  • 8 The Costume of Painter - Museum Tp, legs lenticular and oil on canvas 70 x 240 cm (28 x 94 in)

    andyTypewritten TextClick here to view animated lenticular image in your web browser (5mb)

    http://www.albemarlegallery.com/gif/museumtplegs.gif

  • 9 The Costume of Painte