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Biho RYU

Biho RYU, Sungkok Art Museum twitter facebook


1970, Gunsan


Installation, Media



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In My Sky at twilight _ X–RyuBiho_curated by Han Jooryung
Biho RYU

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Artist RYU Biho has explored the intrinsic values of humans that have been disintegrated by huge capital, denoting that there might be hope in such a circumstance through a wide array of mediums (photography, documentary film, video, installation, etc.) primarily based on video. He has addressed troubles and issues of the times such as the absence of the object against which we have to feel resentment (Inner View, 2015) and those who have been marginalized due to industrialization (The Wanderer’s Song of Wind, 2015), suggesting a variety of artistic approaches to such matters. This exhibition is intended to examine repetition, a striking quality in his works, and its meaning through his pieces such as My Meursault (2015) and The Wanderer’s Song of Wind (2015). When spectators see such works marked by striking repetition, they come to naturally perceive the repetitive images and think of what the artist intends to say. In such a case repetition can be described as a seminal factor to appreciate his works. The Wanderer’s Song of Wind on show at Gallery 1 features a man carrying his old mother on his back as he wanders from place to place. This work seems to hark back to an ancient practice of abandoning an elderly person to die at an open grave site. Where they are heading? Can they reach their destination? His concern for those who are alienated and forgotten over the course of urban development can be seen in this work. My Meursault (2015) on show at Gallery 2 captures a man carrying something on his back while ascending a mountain. As the artist stated, this work was inspired by The Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus. After his actions incurred the wrath of the gods, Sisyphus was condemned to roll an immense boulder up a hill for eternity. This myth seems to underscore the severeness of the punishment and divine power in that the punishment itself is futile and meaningless. However, Camus closes his book with the sentence “One must imagine Sisyphus happy.” If that is the case, what we have to note in The Myth of Sisyphus is not merely the futility of repetitive punishment. When thinking of the situation from a Camusian perspective, it is important to heed how Sisyphus managed to overcome the punishment inflicted on him and imagine him as happy. Ryu’s work is particularly characterized by such repetitiveness. In Andy Warhol’s work, which deviated from the idea that something singular and original has absolute value as a work of art, individuality passes away and originality becomes dull due to an endless repetition of the same images. To Ryu however, repetition is something in which recurring images raise a question and have us take note of this question. His work stays there in modern times when all are being used rapidly.

RYU Biho, In My Sky At Twilight

“My soul is born on the shore of your eyes of mourning.

In your eyes of mourning the land of dreams begin.”

-Pablo Neruda, In My Sky At Twilight-


Blue, Such A Deep Blue Sky


The exhibition by RYU Biho has cherished intentions. Amid the calm and informative setting, his genuine and heartfelt concerns for people living on the margins of our society are as poignant as the sun setting in a beautiful deep blue sky. As someone who has known and watched the artist for a long time, I understood the gravity and earnest depth of the artist’s thoughts and sentiments. A deeper level of maturity contained in the exhibition suggests the difficult and painstaking path RYU has taken over the years, which has culminated in this nuanced exhibition.


Little Detours Along the Journey


STEEL SUN, the first solo exhibition of the artist that took place in the year 2000 reminds me of the sharp and clear image of RYU as a young artist. He is remembered by his clear and firm vision that illuminated the world like an image of the intense burning sun in limitless blue sky.


As a young artist, his confident mind faced the world with an intuitive and direct rationality. Throughout his successive works, RYU, utilizing new media technology (his means to understanding the world), revealed a contemporary world that was dreamy, surreal and lonely (Somnambulance, Ilju Art Center, 2002), and alluded to various landscapes as a metaphor and a parody of our societal structure. While debunking specific power relationships, RYU conveyed his own unique pictorial metaphoric vision contingent on the limit and nature of the media, rather than sending out a direct message.


These works have special meanings. They suggest an alternative imagination that can overcome the contradictions of reality and reveal the invisible system that operates and controls our society (Flexible Landscape, Space Croft, 2009). In his critique, while confronting the harsh realities of our society, RYU has experimented in alternative methodologies to convey this reality. The concerns and struggles of an individual or an artist who confronts a large and complicated society were transformed by the artist’s inner meditation and personal artistic practice. RYU tried to find possibilities in individual self-realization distinct from the macroscopic workings of society (Extreme Private Practice, Kunst Doc, 2010). As an experiment to breach the inflexible system around us, RYU attempted performance art that incorporated unscripted, free, audience participation. In his work Mutual Escape (Space Hamilton, 2010), RYU also investigated the possibility of communal practice utilizing networking and voluntary participation without forced coercion or regulation. These works not only addressed issues but also implemented diverse practices to overcome them. Looking squarely at the trauma and the absurdity of Korean society, RYU in Dual Shadow (Art Base Ddanggool, 2012) visualized the ghost-like, silent mood of the DMZ and the traces of acute ideological antagonism. RYU also conveyed the strangeness and irony of the Seoul Train Station, where center and periphery intersect in alternating scenes of homeless people and flocks of pigeons (Flexible Station, Culture Station Seoul 284, 2013). RYU has made visible the constantly shifting microscopic entities that exist in the gap behind the larger society operating under regularation and rules. Rather than simply looking at the structural dimension of societal systems, RYU has focused on the individual's anxious psyche, paradoxical desire, and sentiment internalized in societal norms.


However, with these attempts, a more fundamental question was put forward. In fact, the visibility of society at large and its workings is the sum total of our individual lives. The individualist approach against broader societal conformity is dealt with in Belief in Art (Art Space Jungmiso, 2012). The exhibition was unique in illuminating RYU’s position and journey as an artist with a deeper contemplation of the world. Perhaps, it was the self-enlightenment that occurred during his trip through the vast harsh steppes in Russia? It is an achievement to solidify uncompromising belief, principle, and integrity during the hardships that are encountered along the way while completing the difficult journey as an artist. It was not a journey taken to pursue certain directions or goals, but a journey taken even though the future was uncertain, and the direction unclear. RYU has noted, “I wanted to show my work and hope to continue my journey as an artist without compromising my integrity. I also wanted to reassert my belief in people who maintain their integrity, and continue on their journey.” His statement resonates with gravity and strength.


With the passage of time and through diverse attempts, RYU’s interest in society has continued unabated. Following STEEL SUN, RYU’s artistic oeuvre has evolved from a bright glare into the gentle warmth of the sun at twilight. This exhibition is the result of RYU's sincerity and vision that has not weakened over time.


In My Sky at Twilight


In contemporary Korean society, sad and heartbreaking stories still occur, and these stories are reflected in RYU’s work. This exhibition draws our attention to the unfortunate in our society. Rather than criticizing directly societal structures, the artist focuses on what is marginalized, disappearing, and abandoned through rapid industrialization and commercialism. RYU emphasizes the suffering of individuals, and the intimacy drawn to the subject is noticeable. In place of garish visual images, calm and meditative sentiments dominate the exhibition. RYU reveals the plight of individuals struggling under the weight of obstacles society has placed before them.


The exhibition space is deliberately bright as if under the sun, and is juxtaposed with RYU’s work that delineates shadowy figures of marginalized lives. The bright lights resonate with Live Sun, the real-time video of sun light. RYU paid special attention to the organization of the exhibition space. The first floor demonstrates a rational and conceptual approach to the visualization of the adversity in our lives. The second floor emphasizes the experiences and concreteness of life itself; it is a space that conveys the joys, sorrows and sufferings of the Korean psyche. These two floors form an organic space like sky and earth, interconnected to a psychological and spiritual realm within the artist’s vision.


On the first floor, The Wanderer’s Song of Wind is not simply about a contemporary version of Goryejang (an ancient Korean burial practice whereby an elder is left to die at a gravesite) as it appears to be; it also contains a message of hope. The dark side of industrialization is symbolized by a man’s agonized walk through ruins carrying an elderly woman. While it is a hard and lonely walk, it is far from hopeless as is indicated by the man intermittently gazing up at the bright blue sky. The viewer can feel the passion for life that cannot be easily given up to adversity. These images, rather than an indictment of the absurd reality of circumstance, convey the affection, understanding and longing for life. In A Man Who Became a Landscape, RYU turns his attention to a steadfast and uncompromising life. The man overcomes his tragic fate through unshakable endurance, and thus by artistic metaphor, the man in the image becomes part of the landscape.


A wise man, the recurring trope of RYU’s work, reflects the artist’s own regard for the rational and compassionate. In My Meursault, an affirmative life attitude is exemplified by a man carrying a heavy pack who ceaselessly climbs up the mountain. Although the man’s hardship is vividly felt through the sound of heavy breathing, this work conveys a positive acceptance of life and hope rather than resentment felt toward life’s misfortunes. It is the same existential question as put forward in Albert Camus’s Myth of Sisyphus.


Existential subtexts are contained throughout RYU’s successive works. A Reverie in the Fog captures a woman looking out at the sea. This iconic image depicts enduring the present while longing for a return that is uncertain. These images of longing are not only mere aspirations, but a mixture of specific sites and locations. They refer to sites that hold painful memories in Korean history such as rising tides, a foggy sea, and Tower of Nostalgia. The motif of longing persists throughout the exhibition. There is a lyrical enhancement of these feelings as one follows the flow of the exhibition. The exhibit succeeds in utilizing film in slow motion juxtaposed against static photographs that leave a lingering afterglow in our memory. The work transcends the formality of the medium.

RYU’s exhibition captures his deeper views on the paradoxes of life, cast in an atmosphere of poetic, calm, and meditative sentiment. These sentiments can be also felt in Inner View. A poignant work seen through TV monitors that records the interviews of the victims and bereaved families of the Sealand Youth Training Center Fire, the Hyung-je Welfare Center Incident, the Yongsan Disaster, the Sewol Shipwreck Accident, and the Daegu Subway Disaster. This work is not an indifferent review, but rather a vivid record of the suffering and trauma presented by the actual persons at the events. RYU has confessed that this work encouraged him to reevaluate his own attitude toward life. It is truly a story of the possibility for all of us to endure under any hardship.


As I ponder the title of RYU’s exhibit, In MY Sky at Twilight, I can imagine the night sky he may have seen during twilight. It is a time when harsh shadows are softened by twilight. The artist’s intimate and compassionate attention to the people who survived their hardships is strongly felt. It is not a matter of praise, but more importantly, it may be the reason of the existence of artists among us.


RYU asks repeatedly, in a society where misfortunes befall many people, what should be the role of art? What is the role of artists in this specific time and place? This exhibition is the beginning of finding answers to some of these questions. It may be the reason why art should continue to exist. RYU attempts to capture a handful of the sun’s rays at twilight, with the hope of better life for everyone.

MIN Byungjic(Vice Director, Alternative Space LOOP)


RYU Biho Exhibition: In My Sky at Twilight

Twilight in Our Time

The end of an era heralds the coming of a new era. In inauspicious times, the end of an epoch may usher in a gloominess and restlessness, where everything is in disorder and violence rampant. What is most alarming is the breach of moral laws and fundamental human ethics. Equally alarming are words that lose their original meaning and cause chaos. A world in which words do not function as originally intended, and when people do not behave as humans--this world becomes a hell.

The tyranny of the power elite is called gap-jil. In our contemporary society of “double-speak,” over-reaching and sweeping worker dismissals is euphemistically called “restructuring.” Driving the poor and the weak out of their neighborhoods as “development.” The law of the jungle is referred to as “free market competition.” Eliminating well-paid permanent jobs with temporary lower paid positions is labeled “flexibility of labor.” The promotion of shameless privilege by the power elite to their children is called “stability and order.” Imposing the logic and norms of predatory neo-conservative market economies of more powerful nations is called “ globalization.” Such a world is one in which social justice is dead, and greed and selfishness become rampant. This is a shameful world.

Zeus the powerful, Apollo the god of order, and Dionysus the god of creativity, all departed from such a world. Even Hermes, the shrewd, yet not evil, god of thieves and tricksters left that world. The relentless and frightful god of the underworld, Hades did not want that world and left it to the devil. What is left behind is a world that is even worse than hell. A world in which no hope remains and life is painful. Such a frightful reality will not disappear by ignoring it. Insomnia and anxiety will follow like a swarm of houseflies.

How can one do battle against such discord, imbalance, and absurdity? How does an artist with sensitivity and conscience face and deal with such a hopeless situation? An artist with conscience cannot settle into a peace-at-any-price complacency as some may choose. When an artist unquestioningly accepts everything he sees as right and just, his future is over because he cannot create anything meaningful anymore. An artist must intuitively perceive that something has gone wrong with reality.

RYU Biho ponders with a calm, yet sad gaze on our contemporary society where all balance and harmony has been forgotten and lost. There is no way to resurrect the setting sun after exhausting its energy. The only thing left to do is to bid farewell to the beautiful setting sun in the sky and wait for another dawn. The sky at twilight is the artist’s metaphor of our society in decline.

Plaintive Images at Twilight

Art pursues beauty. The ancient Greeks believed a prerequisite for beauty is symmetry and balance, an ideal proportion between parts and the whole. Practicing art in pursuit of the beautiful is the act of creating harmony, balance and symmetry. The proper balance between progress and social justice is an essential element in a harmonious and just society. RYU, through this exhibition, attempts to evoke a meditation upon our contemporary society.

RYU looks at the absurdity in our society through the lives of the marginalized, living in abandoned and shadowy places. The representative image of this exhibition is that of a middle-aged limping man being embraced by an elderly woman among ruins. The work The Wanderer’s Song of Wind on the first floor shows video footage of a limping man against a background of skyscrapers carrying an elderly woman on his back walking in alleys and passing buildings in ruins. Finally they arrive and rest in a shabby room surrounded by broken fences. These are symbolic images of marginalized lives pushed aside by urban development and forgotten.

On the 2nd floor, a heavy fog blurs our view. Amid the fog we discover Live Sun, emanating from a real-time video screen. It implies RYU’s warm and considerate intention of shedding sun light on the people living in shadows. Adjacent to Live Sun, on a screen, the work A Man Who Became a Landscape is displayed. This work resonates with the longing and waiting of Prometheus who, in Greek mythology, was tied to a rock with little hope. Prometheus quietly endured 2000 years of suffering against Zeus’ revenge, but in the end, triumphed.

On the same floor in a separate room hang six video screens on which the work My Meursault is projected. It shows a man carrying an a-frame pack on his back climbing steps up a mountain. He is the modern counterpart of Sisyphus, the tragic mythological Greek figure who endlessly has to roll a boulder up a mountain only to have it fall to the bottom and start again. It is a metaphor of the sad fate of people in our society who have to endlessly work toward an unrealizable goal.

Further inside on another wall is a video image of a young girl seated in the distance looking out to a misty sea. The work entitled A Reverie in the Fog represents a mermaid who is waiting for a hopeless love to no avail. The girl waiting for the people engulfed by the sea eventually transforms into mang-bu-seok (a stone symbolizing a legend that refers to a faithful wife who died waiting for her deceased husband and was turned to stone).

In a central space on the 2nd floor, there are two photographic exhibits. One entitled The Tower of Nostalgia is a photograph of a tower created in Gyodong-do by stones piled up by North Korean exiles missing their hometown. Seventy years have passed since the division of Korea into North and South. The other, a work entitled Rising Tide N 36.578157 E126314449 consists of three photographs which show the flow of tides of a night sea that enveloped students from a marine corp camp in Tae-an region on July 5, 2013. The photographs depict the indifference of the night sea to human sacrifice.

In another exhibit on the second floor, the viewer encounters eight small TV sets that look like those manufactured in the 1990s. This exhibit entitled Inner View showcases documentary interviews of both survivors and the bereaved families of Korea’s many catastrophes such as the C-land Youth Center Tragedy, the Hyung-je Welfare Center Incident, the Yongsan Disaster, the Sewol Shipwreck Accident, and the Daegu Subway Disaster. There are, of course, many other catastrophes which have not been mentioned. The artist questions “where are we going now?” by telling stories of the people who suffered misfortune due to incompetence, negligence, and the irresponsibility of government whose purpose is to protect citizen’s lives and property.

The Beauty of Art and the Artist’s Intuition

The mood of Ryu’s exhibition is a serious one. If one argues for beauty in art, and then ask whether the exhibition is beautiful, I would suggest that art does not always have to show beauty. Living in a society where harmony and balance are lost, how may an artist create beauty if not by deceiving himself? In our present circumstance, is it not an artist’s mission to warn of the dangers of an unjust society and to protest against it? When an artist criticizes societal corruption and injustice, is this not a beautiful creation? Genuine images of hardship and suffering will touch our hearts more than the surface of polished lies. An intuitive artist may foretell the future, and be critical of contemporary society through his work. This effort is not in vain. Inspired by artists, scholars may then logically debunk social ills and suggest equitable solutions. Afterwards, the public, religious leaders, and mass media respond, followed by politicians who, sensitive to public opinion, begin to implement change. Revolution and reform begin with art. We should, therefore, not ignore and dismiss an artist’s intuitive criticism, something that our society seem to have forgotten. A society that does not embrace an artist’s intuition will always perish.

Painting and Recording Images

Ryu choose recording images rather than painting. His messages are delivered through moving images, the media of our time. Viewing a moving image requires focus, delivers a strong impact, and conveys messages that may not be represented through painting or sculpture. Media art is ever evolving. Ryu demonstrates the powerful positive qualities of media art in this exhibition.

YU Jaewon(Linguist, Mythologist)



Following his first solo exhibition, The Steel Sun (2000), Ryubiho has risen to become one of the most notable young artists working in digital media. At that time, the artistic worldand Korean society as a wholewas going wild over “new media,” digital technology, the IT industry, and video images. Amid this excitement, Ryubiho gained attention by presenting video installation pieces that actively drew upon the multimedia equipment and technical engineering methods that were just beginning to flourish. But after initially exploring the technical and sensory image effects of new technology and new media, he has gradually shifted course, shaping his art into a speculative critique of the life structure of everyone living under the rule of global capitalism.


This approach was minted with Euphoric Drive (2009), a work of 3D animation which captures the “individual psychological landscape of modern people who have grown accustomed to the everyday routine of the pliant capitalism of our modern post-industrial society.” In this digital video, which is reminiscent of an auto racing video game, the viewer encounters an endless array of billboards for multinational companies during the course of a seemingly endless drive along an outstretched desert road. In Flexible Landscape I and II (2008 and 2009), Ryubiho created a layout of miniature models of broadcasting stations, megastores, global banks, churches, department stores, and apartments that could be continually rearranged by the audience. With the 2009 Flexible Landscape exhibition, the artist sent the message that “the social services that impinge upon individual lives always appear to be something familiar and friendly, but they conceal negative and harmful aspects that threaten the individual.” Of course, this kind of criticism differs little from points often raised in culture theory, sociology, and modern art theory. But Ryubiho’s critical statements are distinctive and worthwhile for their use of humor in exposing the invisible aspects of reality, and because of the persuasiveness they acquire by flexibly embodying images from various media.


More recently, Ryubiho has been working to share his creative activities with others. In order to enact forums where the thoughts and perceptions of different people can be contingently, though productively, exchanged, he has begun organizing one-off events, rather than producing works that will linger on as substantial objects. An example of this is his 2010 solo exhibition Mutual Escape, held at Seoul’s Space Hamilton, which was actually more like a kind of workshop. Following a few initial rules set by the artist, nine ordinary people used their own ideas and abilities to find ways of “escaping the everyday.” Thus, the artist provided an impetus for people living in a big city, dominated by habit and convention, to attempt an escape from their own framework. One of the most interesting aspects of Mutual Escape is that Ryubiho used the USTREAM service on his smartphone to broadcast the entire performance in real time, perhaps inspiring some other potential escapees. If we say that media can be used to mediate something, then Ryubiho’s workshop and Internet broadcast mediated the demands of the everyday and the escape from those demands by connecting the specific individuals acting in the project and the untold anonymous individuals existing in a potential state. In the process, the work became art as medium.

Sumi Kang(Aesthetician, Art Critic)


Hidden Landscape


Invisible City

In an easy-going downtown park, a flock of pigeons are the star of this performance. The ACE biscuit purchased at the park store is used as bait to lure them and as a reward for their performance.


After setting a camera in a fixed location and by scattering pieces of the biscuit, one writes “INVISIBLE CITY” on the ground. While writing each letter, some pigeons flock to eat the biscuit pieces. When one steps back, these pigeons occupy the ground, eager to eat, so each letter eventually becomes invisible. As each bird leaves, the letters slowly appear to visualize the overall, textual meaning. “INVISIBLE CITY”


In the closely woven matrix of a modern city, humans pouring out predictable, instinctive desires often resemble pigeons that flock together to eat biscuit pieces on the ground.


Automobile Landscape

Small models of pastel tone buildings spread out over a flat hexagonal table to form an imaginary metropolis. Each model is movable with wheels on its base. Unlike other such maquettes, with elaborate detail, these architectural structures, part of Flexible Landscape1, have simple forms, whose specific parts appear emphasized and modified. However, viewers who regard them as realistic can simultaneously recall, unconsciously, images of buildings from their own imagination.




1 The concept of a highly evolved Flexible Capitalism can underline the new form of labor in America’s new economy, or the New Capitalism caused by the development of cutting-edge information and telecommunications, or the constant increase in labor productivity. This system places importance on pliable transformation and renovation that improves productivity. It is a system in which workers must adapt to constantly changing systems. New Capitalism can be seen as a new controlling system, emphasizing the free flow of capital, away from a nation’s governance, rather than the abolition of regulations, for the efficient exploitation of man power.

Richard Sennett, The Personal Consequences of Work in the Capitalism, Translated by Jo Yong, Moonyeh Publishing, 2001, pp.7-12




All these buildings, such as those used by broadcasting and communications companies like KT, KBS, and Chosun Ilbo, retail outlets and theaters like Lotte and Mega Box, plus apartments like Hyundai, churches2, and banks, like Bank of Korea, symbolically represent functional scenes of 21st Korean cities. Each represents large corporations, broadcasters, media and entertainment companies, construction companies, banks, and religious facilities, which have emerged on a broad scale from the New Liberalism of the 1990s and worldwide economic crisis, and each can be seen dominating Korea’s major urban centers. All instigate and reflect the public’s desire within contemporary society, and symbolize a ‘Flexible Capitalism,’ in which the consumption and distribution of commodities is the highest value, constantly open to extreme flexibility and expansion. Irrespective of context, history, or life-patterns, they appear suddenly, to subjugate all, exerting rampant influence transcending space and time.


Intoxicated by their magnetism, the public nowadays consider them a prerequisite of modern life, part of the freedom of infinite communication, that mobile telecommunication brings, and so they passively consume sport and movies, and solace from religion.


Within the system of New Liberalism, individuals use all their energy for potential profit. And so any contemporary landscape is formed by individuals as consumers. In the market place, standardized services are provided for 24-hour consumption, everywhere it seems. Tamed by convenience, consumers come to identify a lack of service with an absence of existence, and so feel a sense of deprivation within contemporary life.


The single channel video Euphoric Drive, showing a brilliant road running through paradise, is presented continuously as part of Flexible Landscape. The viewer’s eyes can slowly move into it, following a tidy, new road, covered with a brilliant, warmhearted lemon yellow. There are no obstacles on the road, as enormous outdoor billboards, common to downtown, go passed.


“Those billboards show advertising by a mobile telecommunication firm, promising a world we have never seen or experienced, an automobile in which I can be pompous to my friends, and an apartment that makes me resist my sweetheart. I am an urbanite, and here is the finest place available to me, for my consumption. Urban civilization, which I deserve, is spread out before my eyes. What a fantastic drive!” We are intoxicated by this world. The 21st century civilization of technology and capitalism conducts a range of experiments on our bodies, which, along with our soul, radiates with insatiable desire, within hallucinogenic spaces, indulging us into this world.




2 It can be said some churches benefited from the economy of New Liberalism. Due to the economic crisis, small churches disappeared, but enormous churches, based on huge capital, took hold, gaining income from contributions by well-to-do, devout individuals.



A Better Tomorrow?

A man falls on a vast pink-colored ground. His breathing halts. He looks like a typical company worker in white shirt and black suit trousers. He has bare feet, which suggest he is about to jump out. It looks like he is being chased. The city from which he has just escaped is exploding on the far horizon, radiating a brilliant flash and plumes of dark smoke. A while ago perhaps, the city and the man shared the same destiny. What caused this tragic incident, leading them toward their end?


The small wooden stick this man firmly holds, to the bitter end, is inscribed with his own optimistic life principle. Although he endured the harshness of reality everyday, and expected a better tomorrow, why didn’t he predict his end, coming in just a few minutes? Why is his end so tragic, vain, and miserable? We do not know how he escaped from the city - perhaps he was blown by the gales caused by the explosion? We must presume another unidentifiable man has unhappily thrown away his life.


Installed in the exhibit venue, like ghosts, three-dimensional, organic, black, and sticky forms soar. Each appears like oil, mucus, or compressions of many dead bodies, that existed hundreds of thousands of years ago. Each form is deep black, like a black hole, drawing in light while radiating spiritual energy, like the compression of a vanished creatures’ energy. The deep black is linked to the ‘condensed form of objects,’ suffocated by an end to breathing, a ‘deep black smoke’ rising from the dying city, a black silhouette of the city in peril.


We are optimistic about an unknown future. People believe it is alright, if they die together, when the Earth perishes. They can forget their regrets, while anticipating a better life. ‘Blind belief’ is a gift within the harshness of contemporary life. Those who die have no tomorrow. Those who win are those who survive.


Flexible Landscape

With The Steel Sun (2000), and Sleepwalking (2001), Ryu Biho draws our attention with intense imagery that recalls sci-fi animation. Ryu’s work visualizes diverse conditions, plus physical and psychological reactions that derive from an individual’s surroundings, their relations within social, political, economic, even natural environments. It has two directions: one is the exploration of his own psychology; the other is to enable his active involvement with other people through collaboration. His collaborative work is intended to create active communication between mass culture and art in a flexible, diverse manner. His work involves experimentation in internet communication; popular movies and TV drama; and work that attempts communication with the public, exampled in his Yoido Park and Anynag, Public Art projects.


Flexible Landscape reflects his consideration and view of social phenomena and invisible structures he experienced. Ryu unveils an unknown uneasy aspect lurked in everyday life in a modern city whose appearance looks perfect. The flexible landscape of a modern city he presents looks like a paradise filled with delights, enjoyment, and happiness and simultaneously appears in a perilous state and perishable due to an unidentifiable disaster. A city in reality is like a mirage that shows what we desire and wish. Those who know its true nature feel vanity, while those who know nothing about it dream of a fantasy. Any judgment of values is up to each.


Artists imagine and reflect the structures of reality in various ways. Although art provides us with the experience of spectacle, fantasy, and desire, we return instinctively to reality when the music stops, when we close the book, step out of the museum, or open our eyes in the morning. Fear of reality makes us disregard the existence of art, so art is far away, but reality is so close.

Lee Chu-young(Curator of the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea)