series Aesthetic Surgery

Performace Films, Oil on Canvas, Photography

 The Aesthetic Surgery series is a project which includes Suture, Gauze Dressing, Count, Shoot, Aesthetic Surgery, and Make-up.
The series shows steps of an aesthetic surgery as a metaphor for beautifying the past. To be specific, Suture shows giving a skin graft to victims of the Korean May-18 (518) Democratic Movement, a violent clash between people and the government in 1980. In this piece, images of the dead bodies get transplants with images of today's people. The operation only results in bizarre, grotesque images. In Gauze Dressing, The blood from my own wrist and dropped a few drops of blood onto the victims' body, which was then got dressed as if the blood was from its own wounds. I tried to demonstrate that all humans are burdened with sadness that transends time. In the next step, Count, the victim's image is glued onto the bottom of the street, face down, in Myeong-dong, the most expensive piece of land in Korea. The video focuses on the image until it is stepped on 518 times by passers-by, trying to capture the insignificance of the number 518 and the silent screaming of the victim. I tried to show how people pay the least attention to the past, readily accepting given explanations to it, and how shared memories are abandoned. The next piece Shoot tricks passers-by to walk into a booby-trap and unknowingly pull the trigger of a rifle aimed at a May-18 victim's face. My intention was to raise a question on who should be responsible. Aesthetic Surgery shows the actual procedures of an aesthetic surgery - gauze removal and skin graft - being done on the May-18 victim. The operation creates a pretty yet artificial face so common in Sinsadong, Seoul. In Make-up, the last piece of the series, the victim's image wears make-up as it is painted over with a super-realistic oil-painting. Thanks to the make-up, the May-18 victim's face now looks like that of a modern beauty.

 시리즈 <Aesthetic Surgery성형수술>는 하나의 시리즈를 총체적으로 지시하는 프로젝트 명으로서, 하위 세부 작업과정으로 <Suture꿰매기>, <Gauze Dressing거즈 드레싱>, <Useless무용>, <Willful Negligence미필적 고의>, <Aesthetic Surgery성형수술>, <Make-up화장>이 있다.
 <Suture꿰매기>에서는 518로 희생된 주검위에 현대인의 표피(사진이미지)로 꿰매는 행위를 통해 누군지도 모르는 괴이한 인물로 만들어 1차적인 표피이식을 완료하고, 이후에 <Gauze Dressing거즈 드레싱>에서 희생자 위에 본인의 손목을 그어 나온 피를 흩뿌리고 다시 드레싱하는 행위를 통해 시간을 초월한 동시성을 가진 인간으로서의 비애를 환기시킨다. 다음으로 <Useless무용>는 드레싱 후의 여성이미지를 한국에서 가장 땅값이 비싼 명동 길거리 한복판에 전면부가 바닥을 향하게끔 붙이고, 무작위의 행인들에 의해 518번 밟을 때까지의 영상을 기록함으로써 518이라는 숫자의 무의미함과 희생자의 소리 없는 아우성을 기록한다. 이는 의지를 가지지 않은 대중이 간과할 수밖에 없는 과거 대한 무감각한 수용, 폐기된 공동의 기억에 대한 메타포다. 이 다음 행위로 <Willful negligence미필적 고의>는 설치된 부비트랩에 걸린 타인에 의해 당겨진 방아쇠가 희생자의 얼굴로 향할 때, 그 윤리적 책임에 대해 고다. 그리고 <Aesthetic Surgery성형수술>은 실제 성형수술 행위-거즈제거, 표피이식을 실시하며, 최종적으로 현대의 미적 기준에 의해 고착화된‘신사동 성형미녀’와 같이 탈바꿈 시킨다. 마지막으로 <Make-up화장>는 사진이미지 위에 극사실화 기법을 응용하여 유화칠하며, 완벽히 생산된 미美에 부합하는 현대적인 외형으로 복원된다.


[IMAGE] After Make-up

Installation View, Seoul Museum of Art, 2013


Performace Film

  Suture of the Aesthetic Surgery series is a 1min-38sec single channel video projecting pictures of the May-18 movement victims being patched up with the photographs of people today shoot from the same angle. The wounds and blood on the victim’s body are covered with the pieces of modern people’s pictures shot from the same angle. With its surface treated, the images of victims no more bear disturbing traces. The tools and suture methods used in this video are the ones used in actual surgeries.

 시리즈 <Aesthetic Surgery성형수술> 중 <Suture꿰매기>는 희생된 주검 이미지에 나타나는 상처나 핏자국 위에 똑같은 구도로 촬영한 현대인의 이미지에서 추출한 표피로 꿰매는 1분 38초 분량의 싱글채널 영상이다. 겉만 회복된 이미지는 피도 상처도, 다른 보기 싫은 부분도 보이지 않게 된다. 이 때 외과 수술에서 사용하는 의학 도구를 사용하며, 실제 피부 봉합 시 적용되는 꿰매기 방식을 실시한다.

Suture among series Aesthetic Surgery, 1min 38sec,
Performance Film, Single Channel Video,
Stereo Sound, 2011

Gauze Dressing

Performace Film

 Gauze Dressing of the [Aesthetic Surgery] series is an 2min-26sec single channel video where live blood from my wrist is dropped onto the image of a female May-18 victim, which is then dressed with gauze as if the drops are from her wounds. There is 21 years of time gap between the victim and me, but the permanence of human blood transcends time to highlight the tragedy of the two victims separated by time. Helped by a live person in his 20s, the victim killed in her 20s comes to bleed once again and get her wounds dressed. In this process, no more important is questions like what led to her death, whether the process was justifiable, or whether it was right or wrong. The camera only focuses on the process where victim’s renewed wounds are taken care of.

 시리즈 <Aesthetic Surgery성형수술> 중 <Gauze Dressing거즈 드레싱>은 518로 희생된 여성의 이미지 위에 본인의 손목을 면도칼로 그어 만든 피를 흩뿌리고 나서 다시 거즈 드레싱으로 치료하는 행위를 담은 8분 8초 분량의 단채널 영상이다. 당시 20대에 희생된 주검은 20대인 작가에 의해 또 다시 피가 떨어지게 혹은 쏟아 오르게 되고, 후에 거즈드레싱으로 치료의 과정을 거친다.

Gauze Dressing among series Aesthetic Surgery, 2min 26sec,
Performance Film, Single Channel Video,
Stereo Sound, 2011


Performace Film

 Count of the Aesthetic Surgery series is a 11min-35sec single channel video. This piece shows the picture of a female May-18 (518) victim on the recovery phase after Gauze Dressing session. The picture is glued on the bottom of the Myeongdong street, face down. The district is the most expensive piece of land in Korea. The picture is walked on by passers-by, and the video records it until it is stepped on 518 times.

 시리즈 <Aesthetic Surgery성형수술> 중 <Count카운트>는 <Gauze Dressing거즈 드레싱>으로 회복기를 거치고 있는 여성이미지를 한국에서 가장 땅값이 비싼 명동거리 한복판에 전면부가 바닥을 향하게끔 붙이고, 무작위의 행인들에 의해 518번 밟을 때까지의 영상을 기록한 11분 35초 분량의 싱글채널 영상이다.

Count among series Aesthetic Surgery, 11min 35sec,
Performance Film, Single Channel Video,
Stereo Sound, 2011


Performace Film

 In Shoot of the Aesthetic Surgery series, three parties appear: the one who holds the rifle, the other who pulls the trigger, and the target or the image of a female May-18 victim. The one with the rifle is aiming at the target in the prone position. The trigger, however, is connected with a mock booby trap away from the rifle. When a passer-by touches the trap by mistake, the trigger is pulled. When the victim’s face on the target image is attacked with the shooing, a question arises: who is morally responsible?

시리즈 <Aesthetic Surgery성형수술> 중 <Shoot쏘기>는 총을 발사하는 사람과 총을 발사하게 하는 사람, 그리고 타겟인 518로 희생된 여성의 이미지, 이렇게 총 3자가 등장하는 2분 38초 분량의 싱글채널 영삽이다. 총을 쥐고 있는 사람은 ‘엎드려 쏴’ 자세로 타겟인 이미지를 조준하고 있고, 방아쇠에 연결된 줄은 멀리 떨어진 곳에 부비트랩처럼 설치되어 있어 누군가 지나가는 순간 줄의 탄성으로 인해 방아쇠가 당겨지면서 총알이 발사된다.

Shoot among series Aesthetic Surgery, 2min 33sec,
Performance Film, Single Channel Video,
Stereo Sound, 2012

Aesthetic Surgery

Performace Film

[IMAGE] Aesthetic Surgery on the Set, Performance Studio, Anseong, 2012

 Aesthetic Surgery of the Aesthetic Surgery series is a 6min-16sec single channel video comprised of five chapters: Gauze Removal, Design, Print, Skin Incision, and Skin Graft. In the first chapter, the gauze from Gauze Dressing is removed from the images of the May-18 victims. In the Design chapter, the design of the surgery is drawn on the victims’ face. In the Print chapter, the camera goes into a real beauty clinic where real patients are waiting for their surgery with the design line on their face. The photos of each patient is taken and printed. In the next chapter, the photos of the modern women are spread out, and pieces are cut out from them for the ingredients for skin graft, the next step. In this process, the ingredients were selected among the parts that survived the patient’s own censorship. In other words, only the parts that were not to be augmented were selected as skin graft ingredients.
 I mentioned the patient’s censorship because aesthetic surgery in general is done in line with modern women’s beauty standards influenced by the person’s characteristics as well as the society. This pattern is quite similar to how history is built. By keeping only the pretty features, we may be turning ourselves into monsters. There are reasons I chose the term ‘aesthetic surgery’ as the title over the more common term ‘plastic surgery’. I wanted to exclude operations that are not for beauty, but for treatment or restoration. And, above all, I wanted to focus on the aspect of the surgery that it is an individual’s bloody and bone-cutting struggle against the beauty standards of the society.
 In the Chapter V. Skin Graft, the cutout pieces are transplanted to the May-18 victims’ faces. The victims now look like pretty yet artificial girls very common in Sinsadong, Seoul. The so-called Sinsadong beauty is characterized by abnormally big eyes, an elevated nose, puffed-up lips, surgical lines on eyelids, and a deep chin.

 시리즈 <Aesthetic Surgery성형수술> 중 <Aesthetic Surgery성형수술>은 15분 31초 분량의 싱글채널 영상이며, Gauze Removal - Design - Print - Skin Incision - Skin Graft 이렇게 다섯 개의 챕터로 구성되어 있다. Chapter I. Gauze Removal은 <Gauze Dressing거즈 드레싱>으로 치료 중이던 거즈를 떼어내고, Chapter II. Design(성형 시 수술의 편의를 위하여 펜으로 얼굴에 도안을 그리는 행위)에서는 안면부 미적 단위에 따라 희생자 얼굴에 절개 부위를 그린다. 그 다음 Chapter III. Print에서는 실제 성형외과를 찾아 성형수술 5분전 성형부위가 Design된 여성이미지를 증명사진 형식으로 찍고 이것을 사진으로 Print하는 과정이다. 후에 Chapter IV. Print된 이미지를 펼쳐놓고 성형수술 당사자들의 검열에서 통과한 Design 되지 않은 나머지 부분만을 표피로 추출된다.
 이어서 마지막으로 Chapter V. Skin Graft에서 추출된 표피를 이식하여 비정상적으로 큰 눈, 오똑한 콧날, 부풀어 오른 입술, 눈 위의 절개자국, 움푹 들어간 턱으로 아이콘화 된‘신사동 성형미녀’로 완성된다.

Aesthetic Surgery among series Aesthetic Surgery, 6min 16sec, 
Perform0nace Film, Single Channel Video,
Stereo Sound, 2012


Performace Film

[IMAGE] Make-up on the Set, Performance Studio, Incheon Art Platform, 2014

 Make-up in the Aesthetic Surgery series is a 14min-57sec single channel video. Thanks to Aesthetic Surgery, the May-18 victim has turned into a Sinsadong artificial beauty. Now she puts on make-up through super-realistic painting and obtains the look of a woman of today. After the three years of work, the image bears no sign that she was a victim of the violent democratic movement.

 시리즈 <Aesthetic Surgery성형수술> 중 <Make-up화장>은 20분 분량의 싱글채널 영상으로서, 이전 단계인 <Aesthetic Surgery성형수술>에서 ‘신사동 성형미녀’가 된 518 희생자 여성이미지는 극사실화 기법으로 채색되어, 흡사 Make-up 후의 현대 여성의 모습과 닮아지게 된다. 3년 동안의 작업 과정으로 다시 태어난 여성이미지에서 과거 518의 희생자라는 단서는 어디에도 발견할 수 없다.

Ghost, Pigment Print, 120 x 150cm, 2009

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