As people, we socialize in several different groups throughout our lives. We become more urbane and experienced at home, at school, and at work. At times, we are asked to surrender our personalities somewhat in order to become a member of these groups. As an artist interested in the diversity that stems from individual thoughts and emotions, artist Bae Jeong-wan has used his art installations to invite people to share their stories at Hyundai Motorstudio.
Bae Jeong-wan's "That man in the mirror is left-handed" features large installations and media wall images. In particular, the installations include more than 200 colored poles that are nearly 4m in length and wrapped around spiral wings. It organically connects with the exhibition space to create a grand atmosphere. However, much unlike the installations which appear in different colors such as yellow, pink, and dark blue depending on the view point, the interior space has blue mirrors and welcomes people calmly. It feels different from the intensity people feel from the outside.
The three colors - yellow, pink and dark blue - used in the installation art work came from a dream the artist had before. The colors give rise to various interpretations depending on the individual experience of the viewer. They make viewers contemplate the meaning of diversity and the difference between people. The artist uses being 'left-handed' as a metaphor for being 'different.’ Because only 10% of the entire human population is left handed, these ‘lefties’ have had to forcibly correct their dominant hands. All because they are minorities. Interestingly, however, in recent years, negative perceptions of left-handedness have disappeared thanks to social trends that recognize diversity. In other words, the criteria and standards used in our societies constantly change in the larger flow of time and societal trends. When we change our perspectives, and become people who respect each other's personality and diversity, our wariness towards minorities will dissipate. That is, then people might realize that, “I am left-handed in the mirror.”
Along with the art installation, Bae Jeong-wan will play a piece of video art that features a variation of forest images on the media wall at Hyundai Motorstudio Seoul. The studio area on 1F consists of artificial elements such as iron, pipes and cement. It appears in clear contrast to the natural images displayed by Bae on the media wall. At the same time, however, the poles in the installation component and the trees in the video component come together in the same vertical direction, reminding viewers of a society.
Artist Bae Jeong-wan has a BSc in Engineering from MIT, an MSc in Architecture from Columbia University. He uses his background in architecture to produce artworks that transcend traditional genre specifications. From individual exhibitions at the Art Sonje Center in Gyeongju and Sungok Art Museum in Seoul to exhibitions in Paris and Los Angeles, Bae has showcased his work in various places across Korea and abroad. Today, he remains an active member of the artist collective "FRIIH" in a variety of fields including art performances, exhibitions, installation, visual arts, and architecture.