Adhoc Interviews

Revisiting Mechanical Reproduction: Osang Gwon


Besides being a prominent figure in contemporary art in Seoul, Korea — Osang Gwon is credited with coining the term deodorant type, to describe the combination of photography and sculpture. A chimera of creation, it is a 2D representation on a 3-dimensional surface. The exact opposite of what an illustration is defined as.

Examining Walter Benjamin’s definition of photography, a medium that holds the highest form of authenticity, the photo can hold information lost in “natural vision.” Benjamin later claims, a photograph has questionable uniqueness, albeit many photographs truly hold merit in art and social significance in life. Benjamin’s critique of the reproduction efforts of photography aside, Osang Gwon’s sculptural photographs — deodorant types are attempts to painstakingly record detail with photography. Osang Gwon, delivers a thorough examination of information in the natural world. The photograph may be lost in the process, but what is gained is a sculpture incapable of being reproducible and represents an artifact of obsession.

Osang Gwon has been featured in Vice, Asethetica Magazine, and countless others regarding his iconoclastic hybridized approach to sculpture.

Mr. Gwon has been represented by ARARIO Gallery since 2012. The past few months have been a busy time for Gwon, but luckily his assistant passed along a few questions we had for him.


Can you tell me a bit about where you grew up?

I grew up in the urban environment of Seoul as a general asphalt kid. I spent my childhood playing with assembly toys. Back then in Korea, there was an economic boom followed by a period of cultural expansion when I was attending University. It was the time when Korea was going through economic renewal, with much more political freedom than the post war generation.

Why is commercialism such a rampant theme for you in your work?

Rather than stating my theme as commercialism, it is much more accurate to say that I’m drawing out contemporary urban life. My attempt is to express this life based on the history of human sculpture.

Slip Slider, 2006-2007, C-print, mixed media, 40x173x63cm
Slip Slider, 2006-2007, C-print, mixed media, 40x173x63cm (Detail)

 

So would you say that you make artwork for all of mankind? Who, in particular do you consider to be your audience?

I don’t make my artwork for someone or something.The existence of my artwork itself is the contemporary art. Anyone who sees my work is the audience. They can see my work through the Internet screen, books and the exhibition site. Regardless of any different ways of seeing my artwork, they are the audience. The audience may appreciate the surface of the work and take some time to think about its meanings based on their situation.

Hockney, 2013, C-print, Mixed media, 224x60x42cm
Hockney, 2013, C-print, mixed media, 224x60x42cm

 

Hockney, 2013, C-print, mixed media, 224x60x42cm (Detail)
Hockney, 2013, C-print, mixed media, 224x60x42cm (Detail)

Where do you feel most comfortable in contemporary art? As a sculptor?

The most mysterious field of art is painting. I feel most comfortable with sculpture. Because my major is sculpture, I think that I have had a fascination with being a sculptor. After all, people have always sculpted something ever since the birth of humanity. It is the most interesting field of art.

Holy Mother & Ultra Monster, 2013, C-print, mixed media, 126x98x74cm
Holy Mother & Ultra Monster, 2013, C-print, mixed media, 126x98x74cm
Holy Mother & Ultra Monster, 2013, C-print, Mixed media, 126x98x74cm (DETAIL)
Holy Mother & Ultra Monster, 2013, C-print, mixed media, 126x98x74cm (Detail)

 

The Sculpture 2-Car, 2005, Painted bronze, 220x462x113cm
Buddha & Tool Box, 2014, C-print, mixed media, 36x40x207cm (Detail)
The Sculpture 2-Car, 2005, Painted bronze, 220x462x113cm
The Sculpture 2-Car, 2005, Painted bronze, 220x462x113cm

 

 

 

Aztec Pattern 2013, C-print, Mixed media, 217x135x83cm
Aztec Pattern 2013, C-print, Mixed media, 217x135x83cm


Last modified: May 9, 2015