Friday, June 03, 2011

To frame or not to frame ... part 3

Some years ago I met a Korean artist named Jeon Won-Gil. I went to an exhibition of his at the Sackville Gallery in central London where I bought one of his paintings. Later I went to his home for dinner with him and his wife. While there he gave me one of his many framed drawings. I’m looking at both of these pictures as I write this.

If my house was on fire (if I had a house, that is) I would probably save these to pictures before I saved any of my own work.

Later, Jeon got in touch to tell me he was doing a one-year MA in Fine art at ChelseaCollege of Art. He invited me to visit hm there to see what he was working on.

The MA project he had undertaken was to draw and paint an apple every day for a year. The same apple.

Each day’s work was done on an A5 piece of paper using different media, techniques and styles. Obviously the apple was changing shape, texture and structure every day as it rotted - which was what he was documenting.

It was fascinating to see how he was pushing himself to view and depict the same object in as many different ways as he could think of every day for a year.

At the end of the year I was invited to view the final show, title “The Space of an Apple”. I expected a selection of the best pictures, framed and displayed. Like you do.

This was something altogether different.

Jeon had taken the measurements, done the calculations and constructed a free-standing room to house all the pictures. The pictures were unframed and simply stuck next to each other all over the walls and the ceiling. With no gaps between them, they filled the space with the images - or rather, the one image repeated in 365 different ways.

Stepping into the room and standing there - trying to take it all in - was a zen-like experience. And I haven’t had many of those. All I could do was look - allowing my focus to drift in and out on different images. I would try to look at one individual image but they were so close together that many of the others would fill my field of vision at any one time.

To avoid being overwhelmed by them I had to let go and allow my senses to be surrounded by the walls and ceiling of imagery. I sat on the floor and soaked up the experience.

365 days of work for one sensational - and, for me, spiritual - moment.

Looking back on this helps me to think more creatively about the many different ways there must be to display art and engage the viewer.

What a great idea for a project -- on so many levels. Does he have any of it documented online?>
andrea ... great innit? I haven't been able to track him down online.
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