(B. 1974)
Being Alone
signed in Korean (engraved on lower middle); dated '2010' (engraved on centre)
acrylic on embossed wood panel
122.5 x 80 cm. (48 1/4 x 31 1/2 in.)
Executed in 2010
Insa Gallery, I LUV MYSELF, exh. cat., Seoul, Korea, 2010 (illustrated, pp. 18-19).
Seoul, Korea, Insa Gallery, I LUV MYSELF, 5-18 May 2010.

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Lot Essay

"Taekwon V is linked to the desires of my lost childhood - abandoned because of society's disinterest, but it is also a work that drags in the irony and wit of that period where I appear in the image wearing a Taekwon V mask and sweatpants, longing for someone, while I am intoxicated, sometimes crying out in self-defiance, and armed. This work expresses the social awareness of rising problems, contained in popular culture and society, as reflected in an individual."

Strenuously carving the wood and embossing with acrylics of lurid colours to craft depth and illusion, Seong's recent works are overtly embellished with vibrant configurations of intricate geometrics and a blazing palette of primary colours to perhaps simultaneously indicate the growing uncertainty of his identity and his maturing skills of survival. Both staged in utterly different scenario, Being Alone (Lot 1236) is a literal representation of Seong's solitary self, his inner perplexity expressed through the psychedelic patterning and Cubist geometrics; whilst in Falling Star of Oh Jang Won (Lot 1237), Seong Tae Jin is misplaced in a historic event, under the restlessly dynamic depiction of the landscape and theatricality of the war. His previous works assumed simpler images in a modernized form of eastern ink paintings, utilizing the empty space to engrave his personal monologue onto the background or to write in calligraphy. Fusing eastern and western qualities in What is Done Cannot Be Undone (Lot 1239), Taekwon V is clothed in traditional warrior costume in a pictorial setting that is highly reminiscent of oriental scrolls but with an overall impact of western posters. Though retaining the same minimal elegance as eastern aesthetics, I have a Dream (Lot 1238) triggers a more potent graphic effect with pictorial dominance and narration on the outdated heroes. A strikingly awkward snapshot, Taekwon V clasps on to the aged and retired superman, both in exile and unwanted by the society that they once protected.

Seong confronts reality and his existence, masking himself in Korean heroic robot Taekwon V to fight against the banality of everyday life, carving chapters of his own bitterly humorous self-referential fairytale, a tragic story of a contemporary individual lost and lonely in the increasingly superficial social world. Exhibiting the idea that the role and the character one presents to the world is relentlessly changing to fit the social decorum of the transient environment, Seong presents four vastly different episodes where he forces himself to adjust to his immediate surroundings.


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