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Is seeing believing?

Posted March. 18, 2020 07:42,   

Updated March. 18, 2020 07:42


A flat wall filled with patterns from afar is protruded on a closer view. Close-up photos of a smartphone, cigarettes and a tombstone appear on the opposite side when a viewer goes out of a door into a photo that captured peaceful scenery of a beach. The chaotic feast of images makes me wonder if eyes give us a pure sensation. Are they not affected by our perception?

The private exhibition of Tobias Rehberger (54) held at Gallery Baton, Yongsan District, Seoul from Wednesday starts with this conceptual question. It is an installation project under the title “Truths that would be maddening without love,” which set up a fake wall, paper it and put a door on it or set up shelves in a room. If the “truth” in the title means rationality, “love” means emotions. The work revolts against the history of intelligence that blindly trusted rationality and neglected emotions.

Most people think about dry scenery and esoteric languages when they hear about conceptual art. But Rehberger’s work added empirical elements in the entire place and used fancy fluorescent colors. Viewers realize something through an optical illusion when appreciating the German artist’s works, which provide elements for amusement allowing audiences to easily enjoy them.

“Was du liebst, bringt dich auch zum Weinen” showcased at the 2009 Venice Biennale is one of the most representative conceptual artworks. It installed a café covered with a British warship of the first world war. It raises a question on “seeing” by making it hard to distinguish which is a chair and a table. A similar version of this artwork that received then a Golden Lion award is being displayed at a café of the Museum of Contemporary Art Busan.

The artist has worked with Korean artists many times since his private exhibition at the Art Sonje Center in 2004. He diced on the title of the exhibition based on the strong impression from South Koreans who seem to have be both rational and emotional. The exhibition will be displayed until April 18.

Min Kim kimmin@donga.com