Park Young-deok, better known as Insane Park, is a Korean contemporary artist. While unlimited by media, his works share a common thread in deconstructing and reassembling found images and footage to create provocative and subversive artworks that examine the interrelationships between media and society, image and preconceptions, and systems.Read More
Insane Park held his first solo exhibition Raid on Media (2009) at Shinhan Gallery, Seoul, and began to garner recognition when he was awarded the ETRO Art Prize in 2013. His longstanding interest in the influence of media on society can be traced back to his earlier works, such as the cable portraits included in his solo show M.IDEA (2011) at Seoul's Arario Gallery. By using industrial cables, Park gave a grainy quality to the depictions of his friends and acquaintances that recall footage captured on surveillance cameras to reference the manipulative potential of mass media.
An exploration of the ambivalence of images and language recur throughout Park's work. Also present in M.IDEA were neon light sculptures delineating words that, when certain parts of the light tubes went out, showed a different text. Some of the words, such as TRUE and LIE, were clear opposites, while others like HORMONE and LOVE were seemingly unrelated yet interconnected.
In Director's Cut (2014), a solo exhibition at Arario Gallery, Insane Park used the Photoshop functions of blur and pixelation to transform portraits of ordinary people into what resembled scenes from documentary shots. As he told Hello!Artist in 2014, he considers the role of the contemporary artist as more of an editor than a creator, that 'the most important thing, eventually, is ... how I direct, which kind of tools I use, and in which manners I show things and make images to allow existing meanings be seen in different ways.'
Works by Insane Park also approach complex social issues with subversive wit. In his solo exhibition Sexhibition (2018) at Arario Museum, Jeju Island, for example, the artist recycled found images and footage from the internet and mass media into illustrations and animation works. Employing explicit sexual imagery and references, the works responded to the then-mounting social debates over gender inequality in Korea, while satirising the proliferation of sensationalist media in the contemporary age.
In 2020, Insane Park held a two-part solo exhibition at Arario Gallery, Seoul, examining present-day image culture. The title of the exhibition's first chapter, I have no idea, because I have no idea, was derived from a popular Korean meme. Through installation and video works that incorporated memes and images found on the internet, Park contemplates a culture in which people increasingly communicate through emoticons, in which images replace words.
The second part, Joy of Painting, takes its cue from the eponymous TV show hosted by American painter Bob Ross from the 1980s to the early 1990s. Insane Park pieced together scenes from the programme to create a fictional tutorial on how to become a successful Korean abstraction artist, commenting on the invisible system in which the art world dictates the value of an artwork while it remains incomprehensible to the public. As the artist told Korean Joongang Daily in 2020, 'We may not realise it, but there's a system to everything.'
Making Film : PORN, M17, Gyeonggi (2017); Summer's never coming again, Art Project CZ, Shanghai (2015); Etro Art Prize, Baekwoon Gallery, Seoul (2014); Blame Game, Youngeun Museum of Contemporary Art, Gwangju (2012)
Mal vu mal dit, Haenghwatang, Seoul (2020); Remixing Ground: Deconstructing Damage, La Chapelle de Clairefontaine, Saint-Maur-des-Fossés (2019); Color Study, Savina Museum, Seoul (2018); Inside Out, Gyeonggi Museum of Art, Gyeonggi (2017); TRANS, Akiyoshidai International Art Village (2016).
Sherry Paik | Ocula | 2020