Osang Gwon at Arario New York

Posted in Arario New York, Osang Gwon by arariogallery on November 4, 2009

Arario sculpture 1

From September 10th thru October 24th Arario New York held a solo exhibition of Korean artist Osang Gwon.

Osang Gwon developed and introduced his unique style of photo-sculpture while studying at Hong-Ilk University in Seoul, Korea. Called Deodorant Types, these life-size figures are pink foam shapes that have been covered with thousands of color photographs; Gwon meticulously shoots every inch of his sitter’s clothing, skin and hair while also paying close attention to their facial expressions and postures. The artist primarily depicts the inhabitants of Seoul (where he continues to reside), raising issues of identity that are fundamentally tied to place.

In the space of the exhibition, Deodorant Types form a peculiar landscape of vertical bodies, crouching and prostrate figures, some of which are placed directly on the floor and others atop pedestals—together they create new discourse and, as curator Eric C. Shiner states, forces us to “question the skin we are in.” For Gwon’s 2007 solo exhibition at the Manchester Art Gallery, he extended his practice to the United Kingdom by living, working and interacting with the residents of Manchester for a month. The resulting installation was a glossy multi-race mix of figures, some of which will be on view at Arario New York. It was around the time of this residency in Europe that Gwon was selected by the British piano rock band Keane to develop the artwork for their sophomore album, Perfect Symmetry—Gwon began by creating each band member as a Deodorant Type. This commission is one of the artist’s most visible projects thus far.

Gwon’s newest works include a photo-sculpture of the famous Korean fashion model Daul Kim; and his largest Deodorant Type to date that stands at more than 8 feet tall. A few works from Gwon’s Flat series will also be on view. These large-format photographs—chock full of brand name and logo cut-outs from magazines—speak to the saturation of consumerism, especially prevalent in big cities. The Flat Series imparts an image of Seoul that is at once local and global, specific and broad.

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