(Korean, B. 1965)
Audrey Hepburn VS Gregory Peck
signed 'KDY'; dated '2009' (on the lower right side)
oil on canvas
162 x 130.4 cm. (63 3/4 x 51 3/8 in.)
Painted in 2009
Private Collection, Asia

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Eric Chang
Eric Chang

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Lot Essay

Kim Dong-Yoo's signature paintings which present dual images within the same picture plane allow the viewer to assume multiple focal points. In other words, the picture plane that Kim creates does not have a single point on which the audience can concentrate and any attempt to capture the entirety of the painting transparently is destined to fail.

In Audrey Hepburn VS Gregory Peck (Lot 451), Kim formed a formula of constructing a diagrammatic format with multiple microscopic portrait of Gregory Peck, harmonized with coy control of tonal gradient to emit a larger final portrait of Audrey Hepburn. Using monochromic grids of pulsating red-scale, it exercises the spectator's eye to synchronize between divergence and convergence all at once. As the dual images are strangled within this compressed grid, it generates an impression of media frenzy, in which the construction of their identity is controlled and manipulated, and ultimately consumed by society.

Kim constructs a pictorial idiom of the life of the royal family in Diana VS Elizabeth (Lot 450). Here the portrait of Queen Elizabeth is proliferated across the canvas into an outcome of a larger portrait of Princess Diana. Camouflaged under the celebrated spotlight of Princess Diana, Queen Elizabeth appears timid and small. Diana's urge to remain indiscernible and to reject the strong evolutionary pressure to blend in to her environment is sympathized with the artist's furtive social critique on the royal family. The artist skillfully integrates the concept of camouflage physiology of the behavior of animal in defense to its predator. By utilizing the montage technique in conjunction with the mathematically constructed grid to mimic the excessive reproduction by the media, Kim surreptitiously blames the media and the royal authorities as the predators who murdered Diana.

Kim's portraitures arise as an acute critique, aimed at defining the result of globalization and reproduction; moreover, it serves as the artist's deep contemplation and examination of the theory of icon, dissecting its emblem, or even dissecting its semiotic concept.

Addressing the analogy of being of great importance and our comprehension of the very notion of an icon, the image is thus where icons become a pictorial analogy. Kim knowingly consents to this belief in his painterly creation of multi-layered icons that are in heavy relevance to each other, crafting a visual idiom for the audience to decipher. There is no Audrey Hepburn in Audrey Hepburn as there is no Diana in Diana. An image lies low hidden from immediate view and then suddenly emerges to reveal itself. As soon as one finds that the subject is not there, another subject makes its unanticipated appearance. In this way, as a noted Korean art critic has stated, "Kim's activity of painting the subjects becomes erasing them," (Kim Dong Yoo's Works from 1985 to 2008, Seoul, Korea, 2009, p. 28) Kim is painting by erasing and erasing while painting.

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