The Dual Structure of Desire and Sexuality in Strawberry :::
Desire and Sexuality 19th~25th Feb 1997 NaMu Gallery Seoul
The photography of Lee, Sangwon is the Directing photography.
It means the artist selects what object will be appropriate for his subject,
he carefully trims it and takes a picture in order to give an intended character on it.
You are likely to imagine the directing photography as of there were an extraordinary
style or method in it, but it is just a way of dealing with the objects and expressing
the thought and idea of an artist. Hence, Direction is great importance in this photography since it provide us how to approach his photographic world.
By means of directions, he is able to pull out the nature and quality of a thing through artificial fabricating.
Therefore the concept of direction could be the key to understand his aesthetic
perspective in his creative activity.
The materials of his photography are composed of natural things and artificial additions,
which have already existed as a whole being and possessed pure formal beauty before exposed on an angle of camera, such as vegetables, fruits, and gorgeously decorated dishes.
The artist controls various sources of light including artificial lighting, inspires an invented image into the pure objective things, and goals to make the object transform into his own one. Through the process of metamorphosis, he wishes to represent his coherent perspective on the pictures. What he wants to draw out from or intended to add on the nature and quality of a thing itself is fundamentally the beauty of sexuality.
In general, the beauty of human body and its proposition is based on sexual attractiveness. Supposing that the concept of sexuality is a term used for expressing and explaining the social mechanism of desire, the very imagination of the artist gives him an omniscient power to penetrate his intention into the things.
With the limited scope of knowledge and conventional way of conception, we usually accept the fixed or stale association from the objects around us.
For example, we would easily find out the shapes of face, cloud or animals in a patch of damp on the ceiling, as a part of common association.
Even if particular part of an object is reminded of human sexual organ, it is just positive and intensive activity of common association. But Modern Artists have tried to avoid these common association, and try to develop new communication through projecting new and fresh association on the familiar object by means of an intended character endowment on the objects.
The direction of Lee,Sangwon is rooted on this modern tradition of new communication by new association. You can see he denies each and every common association in his work.
There is only strawberry in it. With common association, we cannot read any intention there. But suddenly, the moment the mood around the strawberry meets little artificial manipulation added, we can feel a movement quickly passed over the strawberry, we come to catch some feeling as living language. The language cannot separate from artful will of the artist.
And an appreciator naturally follows this language and leads to listen to the voice of the artist. Artificial manipulations denying routine association make his photography a kind of a formative art.
As always, Exaggerated expression has been used as a proper method for delivering an exact intention. Exaggeration expression in the works of Lee,Sangwon makes the object transparent and exact language. Greasy light flowing over the object implies sexual message with the help of angle. Fluent materiality of objects and composition also plays effective roles in delivering this message.
When we see a good looking girl with great legs under a miniskirt, we cannot feel any sexuality but somewhat obscenity. On the contrary, we may see the miniskirt itself as an object of sexuality. This fact explains one of the clues to social structure of desire. Society deliberately urges us to see the world through this structures of desire. Because the attitude of perception forced by society tends to keep us away from seeing social absurdity.
Exposing the social structure of desire, paradoxically,betrays the absurdity of society and reveals dual structure of our perception and the reality of society.
Today, fair appearance can easily get relative value ahead irrelevant with the human kindness or character. Similarly, a refined designed car is much favored and sells well even without high efficiency. These contemporary phenomena reflect that our society is attracted into the beauty of sexuality based on appearance.
He clothes the bare strawberry with the virtual image from sexual desire oriented and directs it to transform into sexual strawberry by exaggerated expression.
From this point, over-exposition of desire is morally and aesthetically justified in his artistic activity.
His approaching manner to the object has photographic utility. By a standard of utility like other pure formative art, if the field of photography is divided into advertising photography and art photography, his photography seems to belong to the former.
An artist is the person who tries to deliver consistent massage with his own intention.
The result from his trial is called work. The social utility of work is determined by different social mechanism. How can it be used? The artist doesn’t have to worry about this problem.
Despite, the photography of Lee, Sangwon seems to give us the advertising photography since he used a characteristic of advertisement appropriately. He uses some techniques, such as removing or excluding the feeling of weight consciously, or revealing the design sense remarkably in the composition. But if the distinction between advertisement and art can be broken down, we will spend more time reading the intention of the artist in the work. Necessarily the artist should not produce a fake relied on techniques without containing any message or meaning, which has no longer social utility. The appreciator has responsibility in the way of seeing with the artist. Some sensational works owing to over exaggeration of his is likely to bother or bewilder his intention. The directing photography is accomplished not by disguise but his sincere intention the sexuality be not used with proper direction, the work might fall into the labyrinth of obscenity.
The attitude to read and see the supreme meaning of the object itself is very important foot all the modern artists to create an order and beauty in the objects.
Among many other methods, the very method chosen by artist should have an uniqueness and will have been developed by his persistent search for the relationships between all things.
The artist should continue to make his artistic perspective survive, and his work should have an social value. His indulgence of sexuality is sure to be an success
in his work. What is mostly needed is the power to support this attitude.
For the artist should make a distinction between obscenity and art continuously like Sisyphus.
January 1997 curator Lee, Sop
★영문번역에 수고해주신 양정원님께 감사드립니다.