기간 2011.10.06(목) ~ 2011.11.19(토) | 장소 대구 중구 리안갤러리
Work That Sings
Work That Sings
양광찬란 (陽光燦爛) : 짐 다인의 노래하는 작품들
짐 다인의 《노래하는 작품 Work That Sings》은 우리나라에서 두 번째로 이루어지는 그의 개인전이다.
1992년 10월 국제화랑 전시를 통해서 처음 소개된 지 근 20여년 만에 그는 과거와는 많이 달라진 작업들을 가지고
한국의 관객을 다시 찾은 것이다. 근자 우리나라에서도 해외작가들의 전시가 빈번히 이루어지고 있지만
한 작가가 시차를 두고 작업의 변화한 모습을 현재진행형으로 보여주는 일은 아주 드물다. 해서 익숙한
그의 하트가 여전히 건재하면서도 색다르게 변신한 것을 직접 확인하는 것은 아주 즐거운 일에 속한다.
그것은 칠순을 훌쩍 넘긴 작가의 지치지 않는 오딧세이를 목격하는 일이자 시류에 영합하거나 확립된
테마를 반복하는 일부 안이한 작업 풍토를 거부하는 용기 있는 선택의 소산이기 때문이다. 더 나아가
그의 작업들이 부정(否定)과 도전을 통한 뿌리 찾기의 과정이자 회화의 전통을 향한 끈질긴 대화의 시도라는
사실 역시 우리의 이목을 집중시키기에 부족함이 없다.
전인 20대 초반에 당대미술의 현장에 참여하여 이름을 얻고 또 이어서 대두된 팝 아트의 일원으로 작업이
알려지면서 당시로서는 놀랄만한 빠른 ‘출세’를 했지만 그는 이 때 이른 성공의 짐을 벗어던지는데 10여년의 세월을
바친 ‘반골(反骨)’이다. 그것은 다인이 자신의 입지를 확립해준 팝 아티스트라는 지칭을 부인하고 스스로 작업의
진정한 출발을 70년대 중반으로 규정했기 때문이다. 이것은 비슷한 시기에 전설적인 성공을 거둔 화가 재스퍼 죤즈
(Jasper Johns)가 ‘잘못된 출발 False Start’이라는 그림으로 당시 상황을 반성했던 사실을 연상시키기도 하지만 다인의
과거부정은 물론 죤즈의 그것과는 다른 보다 심각한 정체성의 문제였다. 그는 아직도 자신을 따라다니는 팝 아티스트
라는 호칭을 일종의 반동의 디딤돌로 삼고 70년대 이후에 수작업이 주가 되는 라이프 드로잉과 프린팅 작업 등을 통해
서 전통으로의 회귀를 모색하는 동시에 익숙하게 다루던 일상물에 표현과 상징을 부여하는 방식으로 자신의 내면을
탐구해왔기 때문이다. 이 과정에 등장한 것이 그의 트레이드마크가 된 모티프들이며 이번 전시에 소개된 하트와 가운 등은 변화를 담아내는 신축성 좋은 용기(容器)의 역할을 해 온 것이다.
으로 이주했다. 당시 뉴욕의 가장 첨단적인 미술은 앨런 카프로가 주도한 해프닝으로 이는 죤 케이지의 선(禪)철학과
잭슨 폴록(Jackson Pollock)의 액션 페인팅의 ‘액션’의 유산을 결합해서 만든 전혀 새로운 형태의 미술이었다. 다인은
해프닝에 동참하면서 두각을 나타냈는데 삶의 우연과 무질서까지 포괄하는 예술을 주창한 케이지에 동조하기 보다는
평생 추수(追隨)한 추상표현주의의 표현주의적인 특성과 액션을 자신의 것으로 받아들였다. 이런 배경에서 30초짜리
해프닝 <웃는 일꾼 The Smiling Workman>(1960)은 그의 미래를 보여준 상징적인 작업에 속한다. 이것은 광대 분장을 한
다인이 붉은 작업복을 걸치고 “나는 내가 하고 있는 일을 좋아한다”라고 흰 종이에 페인트로 쓴 뒤 재빨리 유색 액체를
들여 마신 뒤 여분을 머리부터 온몸에 끼얹고 ‘캔버스’에 몸을 던져 문자 그대로 그림 안으로 들어가는 연속되는 행위
들로 이루어졌는데 이런 격정과 표현은 그의 작업의 전반적인 특성으로 주관이나 감정이 배제된 부조리한 짧은 행위들로 구성된 플럭서스 ‘이벤트’와는 거리가 먼 것이었기 때문이다.
그리거나 화면에 부착하는 작업으로 팝 작가의 대열에 이름을 올리게 된다. 그가 팝 아트에 속한 것은 모두에게 익숙
한 일상품들을 다루었기 때문인데 다인에게는 그것들이 자전적인 의미로 충만한 개인적인 물건들이었던 반면 예를
들어 워홀이나 리히텐슈타인의 상품이나 물건들은 감정적인 투사 없이 사용된 근본적인 차이가 있었다. 다인의 다양한
공구에 대한 애정은 할아버지와 아버지가 운영했고 또 자신이 청소년기를 보냈던 철물점에 대한 기억에서 비롯
되었고, 작업의 재료에 대한 관심과 그를 다루는 테크닉이나 손맛을 중시하는 장인정신에 대한 존중과 집착 역시 그에
게는 아주 본질적인 것이었다. 자신의 모든 작업을 자전적인 것으로 규정하는 그에게 이들은 첫 자화상이자 삶의 아이
콘이 될 수밖에 없었던 것이다. 결국 그는 팝 작가로 남기에는 지나치게 감정적이고 정열적이었으며, 일상품의
기용으로 드러났던 다다적인 면모는 그의 ‘진정한’ 테마로 대치될 운명이었던 것이다. 그는 뒤샹이나 케이지 보다는
유럽의 낭만주의 회화나 뭉크를 존경하며 유럽의 회화나 추상표현주의의 후예가 되기를 선택한 것이다.
Brilliant Sunlight: Jim Dine's Work That Sings
Jim Dine's 2011 exhibition ‘Work That Sings’ at LeeAhn Gallery is the second solo show devoted to the artist’s work in Korea. While there has been increasing attention to contemporary art in Korea, it is rare that audiences here have the opportunity to appreciate and compare the work of a major international artist from two different periods of his career. Since his first solo show at Kukje Gallery almost twenty years ago, Dine’s work has evinced both dramatic change and continuity. The real joy, however, is in seeing the results of Dine’s undiminished enthusiasm and energy at 76 years of age as he continues to make courageous choices in his work. Dine has always positioned himself in dialogue with the history of art rather than with current nihilistic trends.
Jim Dine was born in 1935 in Cincinnati, Ohio and after receiving a B.F.A in 1957 from Ohio University, he moved to New York; it was there as a young man that he garnered attention through his involvement with the Happenings of the early 1960s. The Happenings movement, led by Allan Kaprow, was a radically new form of art which combined the ideas of Zen Buddhism espoused by John Cage with the 'actions' from the Action Paintings of Jackson Pollock and the Abstract Expressionists.
One noteworthy work from that period, a three minute Happening titled “The Smiling Workman” (1960), foreshadowed some of Dine’s later work in its expression of highly personal emotions. In the performance, Dine appeared in a paint stained gown and a red painted head with black mouth, repeatedly writing "I love what I am doing" on white paper and showing it to the audience. He then poured red paint over his body, then drank the paint and threw himself through a 'canvas'. Such passionate and violent expression was in direct opposition to the concurrent Fluxus movement, which also featured performances, but in which personal feelings and subjectivities were excluded. Indeed the New York painters from the previous generation whose exuberant energy and vigorous brushwork seem to be a very important influence on Dine’s work throughout his career.
Dine’s subsequent work of the 1960s comprised of paintings and sculpture which incorporated everyday objects such as tools, neck-ties, brushes, and palettes. Because of these motifs, Dine was (and continues to be) incorrectly classified as a Pop artist. The essential difference between Dine and the Pop artists is that for Dine, the utilization of everyday objects is very personal, chosen because of strong autobiographical attachments, whereas the commodities and the images used by Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein were deliberately impersonal, almost aloof selections. It should be noted that Dine’s relationship to the tools he was painting and including in his work were based on his experiences from his childhood when he spent a great deal of time in the hardware store owned by his grandfather. It should also be noted that it was (and is) essential to Dine that his use of materials demonstrate the trace and skill of the artist’s hand, an idea which was anathema to the Pop artists as well as to their intellectual forefather, Marcel Duchamp, whose “Ready-mades” removed the artist completely from the production of the art object. In short, Dine’s emotion and passion connects him more closely to art historical figures such as Edvard Munch and the Abstract Expressionists rather than to the Pop movement.
While the 1960s brought Dine a great deal of attention, his rebellious nature chafed at the demands which fame and the art market made upon him. Dine’s refusal to be labeled a Pop artist also caused him difficulties in his career, and he eventually set off in a new direction. In the early 1970s, he immersed himself in drawing, applying himself diligently to the craft, drawing from life and from classical sculptures until he had mastered it. This deliberate turning away from the sources of his early success proved to be fruitful and it was during this period when Dine began to use his trademark hearts and robes extensively in his work.
Throughout his career, Dine has been prolific (over 300 solo shows have been held of his work worldwide). He has worked in numerous media, such as painting, sculpture, drawing, print, photography, installation, as well as written poetry. His chosen motifs, hearts, bathrobes, Venus figures, and gates have, at many times, figured prominently in his work (all of them were on view, for example, in his 1984 retrospective at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis). Of course, the meanings and exact forms of these themes differ over time, but two of them, the robes and hearts seem to be the most constant.
The bathrobe first appeared in Dine’s work in 1964, when the artist appropriated an advertisement from The New York Times, removing the human figure from the photograph and leaving just the garment. According to the artist “The image was a bathrobe with an invisible person in it. I didn’t literally want to make a self-portrait so I used the robe as a stand in for me; Eventually it became ‘Every Man.’” While it is tempting to read the robes in Dine’s work as his alter-ego, the artist has stated that it is simply an image, a frame which allows him to employ vivid brushwork and vibrant colors.
1965 also marked Dine’s first use of the heart, when he used it as a backdrop for a theatrical production A Midsummers Night’s Dream. By the 1970s, it was firmly established as a main motif in his art. The reference to Valentine’s Day and the commercialized, overly sentimental aspects of American material culture seem obvious. However, Dine’s use of the heart image is more sincere and he has said that when he was a child, he was always drawn to the intense red associated with such imagery. He also seems to respond to the connotations of physical love inherent in the symbol and relishes its voluptuous erotic curves countered with an angled erogenous point at the base. Regarding the recurring use of the heart in his work, Dine has noted that once he found such a potent idea, he would not let it go to waste. The heart persists in Dine’s work, appearing in myriad ways and forms and further identifies him as an expressive artist in the Romantic tradition.
The image of Pinocchio is a much more recent theme in Jim Dine’s oeuvre; he began using it in 1993. Unlike the robes, Pinocchio is used by Dine as an alter-ego. Like an artist, Geppetto created the puppet Pinocchio out of inert materials and then, like an artwork, the puppet went out into the world and lived a life of its own. The bittersweet tale, which combines the wonder of creation with the heartbreak and loneliness that life entails, comes from Carlo Collodi’s classic novel. The Disney movie, which Dine loved as a child, omits much of the sadness. The sculpture presented in this exhibition Little Pinocchio (Sycamore), where Pinocchio is walking forward in soiled clothing and gloves signifies both the adventure and the hardship which lie before him. So, while Dine appropriates the image from the animated film, it is really the tragic aspects of the literary Pinocchio that drew him to the image and it is the heartbreak that the boy endures which has led the artist to identify so closely with him.
As the title of this exhibition ‘Work That Sings’ suggests, music is an important source of inspiration for Dine. That the artist would unabashedly embrace the idea of a muse signals his desire to engage the timeless aspects of art history. While contemporary art seemingly has turned its back on classical ideas of beauty and craft, Dine does so without apology.
The painter’s palette is another important source of inspiration for many recent paintings and has recurred both as a source of creativity and a motif often in Dine’s career. When a palette, consisting of blotches of color which are sometimes pure and sometimes mixed is placed on a wall, it instantly becomes an abstract painting, a phenomenon that Dine plays with masterfully. Of course, the palette signals the presence and the work of the artist. On another level, Dine is using a ‘Ready-made’, recontextualizing an object from the ‘real’ world. But, unlike Duchamp, Dine may be suggesting that the marks an artist makes in preparation of creating a ‘real’ painting can themselves be the painting, which again privileges the hand of the artist above all else.
The works in this exhibition were executed in Walla Walla, a small town in Washington State in the north west of the United States, where the artist usually spends about half the year (he also maintains studios in New York, Paris and Germany).
Most of the works in this exhibition are painted with acrylic often mixed with sand. Dine uses acrylic because it dries quickly and allows him to continue developing the work without pause. As the work progresses, he often adds sand to the paint to give it texture. Building up the surface and texture, and sometimes breaking down areas of the surface, the painted plane becomes a splendid, exquisite and exciting stage, an almost orchestral performance playing with thick, rich and deep strains of color. Typically, the artist uses charcoal to draw the outline of the heart and then paints over it. The overall effect is visually compelling, as color compresses the picture plane and pushes out towards the viewer. Dine has often credited living in Walla Walla for these exuberant displays of spectacular color where it is impossible not to be influenced by the dazzling sunshine and the beautiful landscape. While it is impossible to rival Nature, Dine perhaps is at least trying to echo it. Not surprisingly a majority of the heart paintings have titles which evoke nature: Moss-Green Agate, Bee Bite, Mohawk Indian and with a nod to Korean culture for this exhibition one is titled Sand, Sweat and Kimchi. The single oil painting in the exhibition is Optional Autostar executed in 2008; monumental in scale, this work with its overlapping hearts, clear arcs and defined daubs of color seems to be a descendant of Dine’s early color-chart paintings.
The idea of seriality is crucial to understanding Dine’s hearts and robes. Like De Kooning who riffed endlessly on the idea of the nude, or classical composers who create different movements within a larger piece, these works are variations on a theme.
The idea of sensuality is also central to these works. Dine was once called “a hot artist in a cool age”, as his passion was at odds with the detachment of the Pop and Minimalist artists of the 1960s. With the legacy of the Abstract Expressionists in his mind, his paintings are, in a sense, a landscape of his heart and they shine gloriously as he is willing to bare his soul in his work.