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2D picture in square frame reimaged in sphere

Posted May. 22, 2019 08:00,   

Updated May. 22, 2019 08:00


“How can space outside the frames of pictures be conceptually delivered? That is how I have come up with the idea of spheres.”

Private exhibition “Same same but different” of Bernd Halbherr, a German-born, South Korea-based artist, is being held at Gallery NoW located in Jongno-gu, Seoul. The exhibition consists of two parts—the Spheres series with pictures printed on balls and the Stories series with still images of video footage lined up on a flat surface.

Halbherr explained at the exhibition hall on May 15 that the origin of the Spheres series goes back to 1994.

“There was neither a 360-degree camera nor panorama photography back then. Pictures were taken in a completely analog way and connected to one another to create works,” he said. “The process resembled photo collages by David Hockney.”

Halbherr who was born in Ulm, Germany has a keen interest in engineering as he studied both fine art and physics. Creating one piece of his sphere work typically takes one month as the process involves forming a completely-round sphere, sticking pictures to it with no gap in between them, and adding multiple layers of epoxy coating. The craft aspect of his art pieces shines through as it heavily involves manual work.

The exhibition title was coined to reflect the current period, when more pictures are produced than ever before. The title initially referred to a well-known sentence in Gertrude Stein’s poem "Sacred Emily": Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose. “I wanted to show that different nuances can be created amid innumerable images available on the Internet and that images still hold a great deal of importance,” the artist explained.

Halbherr has been teaching at the sculpture department, Chung-Ang University since 2011. Ever since his first visit to Korea in 1995, he has traveled back and forth between Germany and the East Asian country, showing his works at the 2000 Seoul Mediacity Biennale and others. He has taken a permanent residence in Korea since 2006 when he moved to the Artist Residency in Haje village, Paju, Gyeonggi Province.

“Unlike in Germany where more political and social works are preferred, I’ve received positive feedback for my conceptual works in Korea. Political issues are addressed through art in Korea as well but the more indirect approach seems to be preferred here.”

The Stories series composed of still images of video footage was created to reveal the concept of time in videos. “I wanted to use a camera as if it is a brush. However, I had aimed to create images that are accidentally formed yet beautiful nonetheless, rather than targeting specific concepts,” the artist described. The exhibition will be held until May 28.

Min Kim kimmin@donga.com