Exhibit Seeks Meaning in Life

2008-01-06 : 15:47

Korean artist Choi Hu-chul depicts urban life in cartoon-like images, as seen in ``Next Stop.'' / Courtesy of Rodin Gallery

By Cathy Rose A. Garcia
Staff Reporter

What makes life meaningful? This is a question that seeks to be answered in ``One Fine Day,'' an exhibition at the Rodin Gallery featuring the works of 12 artists from Korea, China and Japan.

Through painting, sculpture, installation, photography and video, the artists express their own perspective of the world. The artists, whose ages range from their twenties to forties, attempt to find life's meaning by looking at the everyday lives of people, especially their problems, experiences, dreams and goals.

Leeum Samsung Museum of Art curator Tae Hyun-sun said that ``although our life might not seem to have anything special, art finds beauty inside this and gives meaning and praise for life.''

``This exhibition hopes to make us think about today's reality of life, the life that we are actually living, and to provide an opportunity to think about maintaining our reality of life or to make sense of our own individual dream and goal,'' Tae said, in the exhibition catalogue essay.

Korean artist Choi Hu-chul portrays urban life in cartoon-like images. His work ``Next Stop'' depicts the chaos of rush hour traffic, as buses and people jostle for space, ``wittily describing a psychological contrast between the anxiety of those waiting and the indifference of those already on the buses.''

Chinese artist Chen Shaoxiong makes ``photo-cut collages, which capture everyday life in modern China.'' In ``Homescape,'' he uses cut-up photographs and re-creates a Chinese home. ``What is notable is that the people and things are not arranged according to their places and functions, in a replication of actual spaces but are arranged as if in an exhibition inside neutral 'white cubes,' thus giving viewers independent elements of a 'landscape' rather than a total image of a household,'' Tae said.

Japanese artist Jin Kurashige's video ``Billy'' is about the problem of alienation and isolation in modern day society. He was inspired after capturing video footage of a kid standing motionless while other children were playing around him.

Shin Chang-yong is fascinated with martial arts icon Bruce Lee, who figures prominently in his works. ``Shin himself is an enthusiastic fan and Bruce Lee wannabe. However, in his work, he does not transform him as a hero. In the picture, he is a secondary character who is one step behind and dependent on the hero's power. … His pictures are a method of virtually transforming a strong man's complex and making his unrealistic dream come true,'' Tae said.

The exhibit also features works by Bang Byoung-sang, Jung Yeon-doo, Ham Jin, Park Joo-yeon, Chun Sung-myung, Ham Yang-ah, Yin Xiuzhen and Cao Fei. Even though the artists come from three different countries, there are common themes that are evident in their works.

``With Chinese, Japanese and Korean artists participating in this exhibition, we can find significance in the reality of our lives in a more diverse way. Within only 20 to 40 years time difference in the course of rapid growth in these three countries, you will have an opportunity to rethink about the universality and characteristics of our life through the work of the artists who were born in social environments that are similar yet different,'' Tae said.

``One Fine Day'' runs through Feb. 24. Tickets are 3,000 won. Rodin Gallery is located near City Hall. Visit www.rodingallery.org or call (02) 2259-7781.