The Evangelist of Technotopia, Young-Churl Shim's The Electronic Garden
In 21C contemporary art, and in the formal aspect among all others, it is presumable that the trait of image, which is called as 'a revolution of visual art', is likely to be starred on its unrivaled stage, which is so evident with the examples of most of establishment works, objets of photographic works are inclined to adopt or introduce images. Without any exceptions, almost all of the pictorial surfaces, which intend to deliver intensive visual message, have been taking in a various images based on particular reflections. In this regard, very apparently, video or digital art have already become on of the great realm of fine arts in this new century. Today, without our choice, the digital art has already been around us very closely in its triumphal feature in artistic expression as it is as much called as 'a flower is visual revolution.' In this complex art world where most of technical revolutions are seen here and there so frequently, it is quite natural and acceptable phenomena that the 21C art has become digital and the various media are mingled in a conception of art marking a greatest innovative and reform in the art history of the century.
The artwork of Young-Churl Shim has magnificently marked or characterized a typical feature of 21C art. That is to say, it would bring itself strikingly on the position as 'the third art', where the contemporary art and technology are met together, illuminated brilliantly over the whole exhibition space through a technological effect. Of course, there may be some arguments against such a trend of art. Because, it would be concerned in some cases that there would be remaining merely 'technology' without any artistic factors just as an eats without salt. Therefore, technological factor in the art has still cast many subjects of discussion for the points of the ultimate purpose and ideal of art, because the technological factor in the art is yet hardly be interpreted or evaluated as an evolved, new dream of man. However, Young-Churl Shim is the one who is more aware of the very flow of contemporary art than most of other artists. She has perceived and closely taken up the current of contemporary art in the course of her artwork, and for this end, the fact that she has constantly and repeatedly verified the originality ever since middle of 1990. This is an extraordinary feature to be taken into consideration when any one comments her art-world.
The response of her artworks among the art world has been keenly manifested in a form of critique by those art critics whenever her art pieces are displayed in the public on the issue of artworks would always represent a religious source so clearly. The evangelist of an electric garden-a fixed impression of the artist has already been reflected to the public eyes, and her special motif of religious impression and expression form (chiefly the artistic source being scattered or piled over the canvas) has become a keynote of her setting up of the art. Furthermore, her title of her artworks, which has adopted persistently), is also form in a motif based on the Bible or derived from her preaching of testimony. There are an innumerable examples proving the closely related relationship between arts and religions among the Western art pieces, but we have to note very specially that there few examples of solid cases. As a whole, Shim's private concentration of artwork by vividly representing a religious source based on her unusually religious faith. In this connection, she has consistently pursued and employed motifs derived from her faith, which may become the main texture of personal history.
Her consistent and common subject matters of art, including 'The Gradual Symbol of Light-1990', 'Jesus Loves You-1989', 'Man-Where We have Come From and Where We Are Going-1990', 'Totally Governs Our Life and Death-1992', 'The Providence, Thirst For and Adversity...' and so on forth, has rather showed a simular impression of a Christian evangelist as appeared in the subject matters, just as if transmitting the voice of God. In the advent of 1994, she has marked a huge changes in her artworld toward a composite artworks from the existing fragmentary art pieces. The meeting of Shim's formative solid object with neon was first displayed to the public at 1993 Taejon Expo under the title of 'electronic garden', and in the following year, her artwork has drawn the public attention to her particular artwork by being awarded a total gallery award for her selected artworks at the Expo and was recognized as a distinguished artist.
Particularly, her works, 'The Providence-the Electronic Garden' displayed in the show window to the public in 1994 at Hyundai department store has marked a turning point of the direction of her artwork. Paraphrasing, it was her works, 'The Electronic Garden' that has employed a metaphoric method to represent a religiously symbolic narration in the texture of works by materializing mushroom objects. The fish objects as a basic symmetric of a Christian painting as well as other variously represented images would well define her religious characteristics of artworks. The electronic element in this establishment artwork will eventually become a well assorted typical art form by the technological completeness by meeting with the composition of the elements including formative shape and geometric textures of mushroom. In those days, the visual aesthetic factor availed with neon and the fantasy of radiation of various lights had vividly revealed the very harmony of the objects much more alike the geometric devices.
Bringing together with the visual form into this artworks, she has never be apart from the symbolic system of religion with the combined elements of artistic feature, created and derived from her originality, and has magnificently denoting her intention of artwork.
After her artworks of 'The Electronic Garden', the following artworks in 1995, 'The Providence-the Beautiful Lord', which she had displayed at MANIF, 'The Providence-Love is Stronger than Death', and 'Providence-Myth', etc. has vividly exposed a new paradigm of extreme completeness and changes in her electronic garden. The objective of her artistic pursucance is rather not for seeking fortunes and happiness through her faith but it is a firm establishment an eternal setting of relationship between God and himself in an ultimate artistic goal. We have confirmed her crystallized symbols of religion from her artworks being exhibited at WalkerHill gallery in 1997 such as the art piece of 'The Providence-Enduring Patience Overcoming the IMF Crisis'. These artworks has offered a vital point of how deep the stratum of works and how they could have successfully been created in a gradual step of process with various materials, and thus these works are remarkably significant in questing his unique tableaux. Also in the same year, she created a hologram works, namely 'Life+Peace+Light' and 'The Electronic Garden' shown to the public in good size at an art performance marking the open of Jooksan International Art Festival and concurrently marked 1999 MANIF, she as succeeded in transforming the visual taste of fantasy into a visual message by application of the abundant light. Thus, Shim has been evaluated as an artist who first opened the horizontal of particular art in combination of formativeness and 'electric garden' technology under a symmetric form of art among the art circles where artistic diversification lacks.
The art world over the world has splendidly positioned in every corner where establishment is available for a revolutionary form of digital art through a various mass media. The effect of wave such as this phenomenon can be found in the European art education. The formative art magnificently combined with all of other existing arts includes visual art and technology in a natural way to form an image, and sound, music and architecture, etc. would also be combined with the future-directing new concept of arts to open a new chapter as a total art. It would indicate the art can be continuously existed in a new form, and also continue to effect another new form of art as in the cases of audio visual.
Characteristics of the electric garden-one of the remarkable characteristics in her recent artworks is that the electric garden, among all other, would offer us an associated image combined with all of other various and abundant images which can be easily find in the art pieces of different artists. We can view his electric garden art pieces at KOEX exhibition hall, representing the most distinguished trait of his art-work. In those artworks, we may find well combined images of geometric shapes, begin transformed from an object of mushroom, and neon and various other small objects into a single imaginary feature.
Her artworks are seemed to be brilliant especially at the environmental formative objects. In this connection her art pieces implies an absolute meaning of affinity effect to the surrounding environment. Among her works, the electronic garden is the unique artistic object of Young-Churl Shim's art world for which she has been devoted in since 1990 as a major subject matter of her art. The reflection and images of his electronic garden are rather inclined to visual value, and the images are fantastically decorated on the 'garden', radiating the diversified lights by a software that gets into the garden to consist a harmony as 'the one as a part of the whole'.
Instead of plants, there in her electronic harden are decorated with brilliant and amazing light and colors combined with light radiating flowers and variegated neon as if, as a whole, it is and art piece of embroidered scene. However, we have note that her electronic garden would not remain as a common and casually looked garden which merely fucuses on superficial beauty. As is generally known, her electronic garden is a premise where technology and an up-to-date arts are met together. I would amazingly cause changes in the visual sense of the viewers at everytime; the sculpture freely moving around by manual operation of duct screen and sensor system, the computer reflection that reveals clearly of the abundant imagination of the artists, the neon which proves the aesthetic characteristics of light, optical fiber and turbine monitor and hologram, etc. has introduced an intimate and composite arts through her numerous art pieces. Especially, her hologram works applied to the art is a virgin field to be pioneered, which will undoubtedly bring us the freshness of contemporary art as a new dimension of visual art. Thus, her art would faithfully keep on a newly innovated art form combined with computer and digital art as an advanced artistic form of the 21C. Her incessant effort in the artwork to expand the area and impossibility of digital art by application of multi-media, and her desire to do so is chiefly based on the fact that her artistic result and phenomena will become an important factor for the modern consumers community and the 'age of eye' through which the effect of visual function would be more important than ever before. Probably, due to the extraordinary ideas of the artists the age of three-dimensional art has rapidly realized and launched in before us and there is no denial that all these ends were solely derived from Nam-Joon Paik's video art.
Young-Churl Shim's electronic garden project-the decorative work she has presented has no common aspects and every aspect of it has drawn our attention as a whole. The expression method applied was so diversified with installation and sculptural relief, etc. Another noticeable points are the various images and their repeated appearance and superimposition to be derived from the imaginary reflections of digital being edited and produced, the advertising effect and the very exotic pleasure of watching the music video, all of which are personally and exclusively produced by himself based on her artistic originality. As a matter of fact, the composition of the electronic garden she has presented seemed to be apart from the contemporary art on the point of the combination of technology and imagination just as the artworks of Jeffrey Shaw, the media artist and as what Shaw said. The composition of her art has long been considered and contemplated by herself, and the result of his magnificent artwork has thus been greatly owe to her incessant effort and valuable experience.
We may admire Shim's flash thought and imagination and the intention to bring the life into the post industrial age by the art with our visual sympathy. The free expression and imagination of the artist has totally been shifted by her creativity. However, one thing very special is that her works are produced for the good of others rather than for the artist herself. What is the meaning? It is suggested by herself through the works that man, nature and the objects being influenced by the up-to-date technology are firmly combined and united together into one unit to born again as a piece of artwork. In this connection, Shim's electronic garden is not the leave in a corner behind himself but it would grant an opportunity to the artist when her artwork is placed at a significant space as a living creature and to share with everything around it.
Now, her art has become an acceptable realm of contemporary art, and is required to become a vision in our age. Her art narration being clearly revealed through his 'electronic garden' is directing toward the world of a technological art form and style as one of a new media world of arts beyond its being of an object of pleasant view in the public. By application of technology, he has delivered a great message to the people with love and the Gospel, rather than criticize the reality, and in this respect height well be called as an evangelist of technotopia.
Today, many people comment on the danger of culture or the phenomenon of extricating from the culture. In fact, the object which we pay our most attention and noticeable one her very religious factor that she has constantly pursued objective of her religion implied in her works. A religion to an artist, as asserted by Yo-Han Cho, a philosopher of arts:"A Christian art is not always that Christianity should be adopted into the art. As in the ease of a Christian artist who should take up art as an art specialist, who requires attaining artistic technique and skill from the beginning until maturity as an artist, and thus her Christianity implied in her art-works directs toward the absolute being of God with glory and blessing."
The electronic garden, a product of her artwork derived from her devotion in Christianity is now reached the ultimate level of the religion by embodiment of the Revelation of the Absolute being through her artistic mastery skill. Her language denoted in her art pieces is a crystallized form of narration that man can communicate to her absolute Lord with endless expression of worship; and the language would eventually be a great message of love, and thus we may not overlook the hidden spiritual message breathing in the electronic garden.
We hear of his message of love toward the absolute being, which is the prayer for love and peace. In the reality, we would find a place for prayer and meeting together in her 'electronic garden.' In the electronic garden, we would confirm her articulate voice again, relative to her autobiographic introcuction. "A subject of love would always be lying as a bedrock of my arts, it is the providence of God and is a providence of commitment to meet with us. It is possible to meet God only by love, and thus providence as this would after all rules nature and integrates man and the world together into one."
Jong-Geun Kim / Art Critic
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