As digital platforms become the primary method of communication, contemporaries share and collect messages and images more than ever. How are we digesting the reproduced images and narratives on the screen? Deleted focuses on Ram Han and Junu Ahn's process of recording instantaneous experiences captured within the digital community. In a painterly manner, both artists compile objects and creatures associated with individual tastes on to a single surface through computer programs. Irregularly emerging memories are deleted or superimposed in the final result and rearranged within a frame.
Digital paintings by Ram Han, who also works as an illustrator, portray the state of people, animals, plants, and objects as narrative. The elements constructing the image are psychedelic in color, imposing an unrealistic and artificial read, but also serves as a clue evoking a particular scene from a faint memory. The artist borrows rendering techniques from animation to embody water, smoke, and light, which guides the viewer to fantasy experience. Souvenir 04 (Cockpit), fourth of Han's light panel series 'Souvenir' conceived in 2018, is inspired by romantic decadence and crashing aircraft.
Junu Ahn is currently an art director for a Hong Kong fashion company and works mainly with photos and videos collected through the internet. Ahn replicates in groups the vast amount of poor images1 stored on his cell phone and computer or mixes them with snapshots of everyday moments that he partly deletes. Digitally printed works on paper such as Sour Times and Unforgiven discombobulate the overpopulation felt in the internet environment with feelings directly experienced in reality. Video work Selfie as Monkey in the Internet Jungle is reminiscent of the dissipation process of digital debris, where excavated images from mass media such as cartoons, memes2, video games, and photographs are converted and intersected as they disappear.
The works of the two artists are like pictures of imagination. Portrayed directly or indirectly is a modern man who shares countless data and exposed to the internet. Is the real-world experience remembered more accurately than the flat experience through the screen? Individuals recollection of the boundary between fact and fiction collapse through repetition of saving and delete.
1 The poor image is a copy in motion. Its quality is bad, its resolution substandard. As it accelerates, it deteriorates. it is a ghost of an image, a preview, a thumbnail, an errant idea, an itinerant image distributed for free, squeezed through slow digital connections, compressed, reproduced, ripped, remixed as well as copied and pasted into other channels of distribution. Hito Steyerl, The Wretched of the Screen, Sternberg Press, 2012, p.32
2 An image, video, piece of text, etc., typically humorous in nature, that is copied and spread rapidly by Internet users, often with slight variations. Oxford Dictionaries.
Press release courtesy Whistle.