Hyun-Jin Kwak
Object Perview

Hyun-Jin Kwak. Object Purview - History of Mythologisation. History of Mythologisation 2016,  c-print, frame, LED ø 105 cm                                                                             2016.
Hyun-Jin Kwak. Object Purview - History of Mythologisation. History of Mythologisation 2016, c-print, frame, LED ø 105 cm 2016.
Hyun-Jin Kwak. Object Purview - Scopic Field. 2016. c-print, lins, LED, trä ø 30 cm
Hyun-Jin Kwak. Object Purview - Scopic Field. 2016. c-print, lins, LED, trä ø 30 cm


Object Purview (on going project since 2015)
-History of mythologisation
-Scopic Field
-Seven Ages of Man
 
The project Object Purview consists of different mixed media sculpture/photo object. All the works are experimenting idea of combining the image with text, digital technic and handcraft, as well as connecting classical visual expression to story telling.
 
Ceiling-paintings are predominately connected to the periods of renaissance, rococo and baroque. With ceiling-paintings made in situ one strived to create a sensation of three-dimensionality and open up larger, indefinite space within the interior architecture. By employing different illusionist tricks, as manipulations of perspectives and trompe l’oeil-techniques, one managed create illusions of heavens inhabited by angels; imagined halls with pillars; or abstract spaces with emblematic or mythological figures and symbols. Ceiling paintings evoked fantasies, created dramatic narratives, had didactic functions or formed viewing spots for contemplation.
In this project I am embracing these qualities and functions of the classical ceiling paintings – which share some of the qualities of staged photography (a genre I have been invested in since the end of the 1990:s) – but at the same time transforming or inverting some of the aspects. The ceilings are photographed in different palaces in northern Italy, and are here used in an experiment with the functions of the scale, the position of the viewer, and notions of perception. By using small prints in one of my series – with the details enhanced by magnifying glass, mounted in certain elaborated frames – I transform the viewer to a giant looking into a “viewing instrument”, or peep hole, into another world of marvels. The environment of the ceiling paintings are “transplanted” into a new context in my work, and the viewing position from below are replaced with a horizontal peeping position in relation to the wall objects, where the viewer has to move to be able to acknowledge the spreading and the details of the image. 
In the series, I also comment of the function and meaning of the photo-object – an “un-pure” hybridization of photography that had several short periods of existence in the history. The first period is connected with the earlier experiments with photography by the end of 19:th century – a period when photography existed in a terrain in between science, entertainment, technology and art. During this period a series of experiment with scopic technology, hybrid forms were invented that resulted in different images, different viewing machines and photographic tools (the Wunderkammer, the stereoscope, etc). The second period was during early postmodernism in the 1980:s when a number of artists made objects in the borderland between photography and sculpture. With a background as sculpture student, I’m in this work merging my sculpture- and photo-practices.
 
- “History of mythologisation” is a photo object which image depicts the inner roof of Teatro Ariosto in Reggio Emilia, in northern Italy. The dramatic and heroic scenes in the image belong to the famous medieval myth of Orlando popularized by the Italian renaissance poet Ariosto in his poem Orlando Furioso (in Swedish Rasande Roland). Ariosto elaborated on the old myth about the adventurous life of one of Charles the Great’s (Charlemagne’s) knights and created his own somewhat ironic, romantic and lustful version that became incredible popular in Europe from the 16th century and onwards (and was made in to operas by Vivaldi and Händel, among others). The painted ceiling is embracing these lustful elements in an exaggerated style with sea monsters, flying hippogriffins, and both chaste and sensual women that creates a relation to contemporary manga-illustrations. 
 
The image provides a circular narrative with no beginning and no end, and seen in situ – in the theatre building – it is difficult to overview because of its scale. It was my desire to “possess” this mesmerizing image and architecture that was the driving force to make the work: photographed and incorporated in the object this image becomes “accessible”. 
The object itself, with its circular light (that can be dimmed with a remote control) and large white frame – that follows the construction of the theatre ceiling – refers to theatre dressings rooms mirror– in this case the actor would be watching the narrative of the drama instead of his/her own mirror image. The black square in the middle of the image – the wooden part of the ceiling where a glimpse of daylight is seen – provides the potential opening to the outer world. 
 
Although Orlando Furioso is a sort of fantasy story it has a historical background: the European Christians’ medieval war against the Saracens (Muslims). The text relief on the object is the first line of the poem: 
LE DONNE, I CAVALIER, L'ARME, GLI AMORI, LE CORTESIE, L'AUDACI IMPRESE IO CANTO, CHE FURO AL TEMPO CHE PASSARO I MORI D'AFRICA IL MARE
(Of ladies and knights of arms and love, their courtesies, their bold exploits, I sing when Moors passed in hostile fleet of Afric's sea).
The story of the war between the West and the East has an obvious resonance to our time. Not only for its orientalistic elements but also for the mythologisation of conflicts – in our time a mythologisation through media almost in real time. The need to project ourselves and our desires on the conflict between the struggle, between the supposedly evil and good is still present.
 
- “Scopic Field “is about seeing and understanding the unseen.
As Jacques Lacan mentions: “I see only from one point, and that point is inside the subject.” 
 
In Scopic Field, I am embracing qualities and functions of the classical ceiling paintings from periods of renaissance, rokoko and baroque – which share some of the qualities of staged photography. The ceilings are photographed in different palaces in Italy and here are used in an experiment with the functions of the scale, the location of the viewer, and notions of perception. By using small prints – with the details enhanced by magnifying glass, mounted in certain elaborated frames – I transform the viewer to a giant looking into a “viewing instrument”, or peep hole, into another world of marvels. In this work I also comment of the function and meaning of the photo-object – an “un-pure” hybridization of photography that had several short periods of existence in the history.

 - “Seven Ages of Man”, motive is a ceiling found in an abandoned hospital in Venice, I use the monologue from William Shakespeare’s comedy As you like it (spoken by the melancholy Jaques in Act II Scene VII.) as text relief on the handmade frame. The speech compares the world to a stage and life to a play, and catalogues the seven stages of a man's life, sometimes referred to as “the seven ages of man”. In this work the text’s visual quality is emphasized and has equally become an integrated part of the physical expression as a text with a specific reference.
 
Below is the monologue and the marked parts are the one I used on the frame:
 
All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms.
Then, the whining school-boy with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then, a soldier,
Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden, and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon's mouth. And then, the justice,
In fair round belly, with a good capon lined,
With eyes severe, and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws, and modern instances,
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slippered pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything

Hyun-Jin Kwak
www.hyunjinkwak.com