curator Shin min
The unfamiliar is tend to be perceived as untrue, unreal. As perception is formed through repetitive social training, only the familiar, pre-exposed is perceived as the truth. The progress of technology, however, has expanded the boundaries of what we are able to see and with this also the expansion of visual exposure and art.
Photography is able to show beyond the visibility of our eyes. Ji Ho Jun approaches his objects through the lens of the camera and microscope, expanding our visual exposure, enlarging the objects to see them in unit of smallest measurement. Through the new method of approach, we are made alien to the familiar reality.
Ji Ho Jun¡¯s reappearance of a coin through a microscope makes what was an ordinary object seem like a large sculpture. He has put together images from the microscope to create a photograph of a coin. The coin, enlarged to 150 to 300 of its size displays rusts and scratches, like traces of the sculpting tool, that would not be visible through the human eye. Ji¡¯s work also embraces the story behind the coins, reflecting how the theme of each coin pertains the symbolic objects of each respective country¡¯s history. The coin is overlapped with the images of related newspaper articles to portray an image that transcends time and space. The title of the series ¡® Coin Invasion¡¯ has its basis from the coin¡¯s invasion of time and space. Ji has portrayed Walter Benjamin¡¯s statement – Image duplicated through technology expresses realism beyond the actual object and frees it from the restrictions of time and space – in art form by showing the disparity between hyper realism and the image presented through the lens. In doing so, he introduces a new area of fiction that replaces the illusion created by art.
The use of nano-scale photography taken through a microscope is also used for the Coin Invasion series as it was for the Nanography series. The coin is broken down into pieces that is very different from its whole, and the overlap of the actual and the enlarged image forms a dramatic linkage of the visible spectrum and the microscopic spectrum. The nano particles display the looks of nature hidden behind the artificial object. Ji¡¯s intension is to show that the reproduction of the actual object through the microscope should not be a display of reality but visualization of the non-visible.
The ultimate issue raised by Ji Ho Jun through his exploration of the microscopic spectrum is the absence of absolute truth. Is what we see the real truth? A coin expressed in form of hyper realism may draw admiration for its conformity with the actual object. However, having seen the microscopic image of the coin makes the viewers doubt the former. Even Ji¡¯s work may be doubted in the future should we be able to see an even more elaborate form of the object through development of the optical lens. It is mankind¡¯s natural desire to seek the truth. However, there only exists the process of getting closer. In other words, there are only different forms of resemblance to the truth, while the ultimate form remains unknown. Ji¡¯s work may seem to show the unknown truth, but in fact it is a realization that the absolute truth is indefinable. The purpose of his work is to approach one step closer to the core of the actual object through digital technology, to draw upon the imperfection of physical vision, and suggest a new method of seeing. Thus, the participation in the visual play formed by Ji invites viewers to criticism of contemporary sense of art beyond the absolute truth.