• Asian Contemporary Art (Day Sa auction at Christies

    Sale 2726

    Asian Contemporary Art (Day Sale)

    30 November 2009, Hong Kong

  • Lot 1556


    Price Realised  


    (B. 1974)
    Break of a Relationship
    signed in Korean (lower right)
    acrylic on embossed wood panels
    162 x 100 cm. (63 3/4 x 39 3/8 in.)
    Executed in 2009

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    The cultural impact and the profitability of animation as a efficient medium in communicating to the masses is proficiently understood and translated in comic parody to underscore the materialist versions of the modern utopia, shrewdly concealed under the optical brilliance of multi-colored figuration of Korean traditional 'Saekdong' together with Seong Tae Jin's immaculately carved wood panels and prints. Expanding their creative repertoires, Seong consumed the Korean heroic robot 'Taekwon V' as his self-referential tales, evidently narrating in cinematic succession of mundane activities, in force yet seemingly bored. Once a national, hero, the Korean anime, Taekwon V bred a collective experience to young Korean children; Seong too, obsessively idealized the icon, who in generous return, conditioned his patriotism, cultivated his morality, exercised his physical and psychological strength and now, humbly serve itself as a realm of escapism and as the artistic channel for the artist.

    Confessing his relationship with life in banal situations, Seong wears a mask of his hero to communicate suspended reality, an unsettling mood and tension conveyed in his replica of Edvard Munch's Scream, in his crisper, brashly intensified palette of Break of a Relationship (Lot 1556). Perhaps in his indication of the harshly bold contours of the animated world, Seong's jagged urban scene is materialistically fit with the rigid sculpting of wood amplifying the theatricality of the scene in spatial dimension with pop-infused neon street lights, overloading our eyes with shocking depiction of the off-duty lives of drunk superheroes in quirky casual wear in Can Spring Come to the Deprived field? (Lot 1557). As Taekwon V signifies societal values and changes, it informs us of modernity's nihilism, as we witness the deterioration of their power, motivation, responsibility and belief in justice and humanitarian service. Forced to abandon his heroic role and to adapt to regular life, the robot's tormented psyche is dressed in blue sweat pants, a symbolic uniform for the unemployed, dozing in the subway as an ordinary citizen; his legacy dissolved, abandoned by society he once protected. Seong traces his monologue, proliferated in images of his hero's sitcom life to humorously reflect on his own life, attempting to seek comfort from his childhood hero in masking himself in his facade and yet borrowing his identity to unravel the uncertainty, anxiety and tragedies of contemporary individuals


    Gallery LVS, Seong Tae Jin Solo Exhibition, exh. cat., Seoul, Korea, 2009 (illustrated, p. 14).


    Seoul, Korea, Gallery LVS, Seong Tae Jin Solo Exhibition, 21 May-2 June, 2009.
    Gwacheon, Korea, National Museum of Contemporary Art, 100 Years of Korean Cartoon, 3 June- 23 August, 2009.
    Jeju Island, Korea, Jeju Museum of Contemporary Art, 100 Years of Korean Cartoon, 5 September-31 October, 2009.