Text by

Eunyoung Kim-Choi

 

Camouflage, the overthrown proposition

 

 

Things took off slowly without rush. The time hidden in the narrow gap between objects and space revealed itself. The fact implied by the blurred surface is not the artist’s main purpose. All these have been carefully conducted by Seung Hwan Oh, including any possibility of coincidence.

 

The unstable lines exposed on the surface seem to function as an equilibrator that temporally conceals the captured subjects’ identities. As it could appear to be too speculative or too daily- life-orientated to disclose, the artist has left just enough space for imagination in order to make room for art.The subjects captured by Seung Hwan Oh’s camera lost its mass and space. Instead, they brought time into that lost space. However, the true nature has remained intact, it just mutated into different forms. Through the transparent plastic film on which he created texture, Oh took pictures of random objects altering its original figure. This act, called as ‘Camouflage’ derives from emergence of sight in the history of living things.

 

It is a bona fide act as it relates to philosophy and paleontology in order to raise life’s existence issues. He executed a new attempt built upon his rich inspiration and by clever means. Camouflage that he talks about sets out from the birth of sight in the midst of evolution. He regards the relationship between viewer and viewee as the one between predator and prey, or as the cause of breeding. While processing such thoughts, he reaches out the conclusion that evolution is not advancement but increasement of multiplicity through accumulating experiences of adaptation between living things and environment. It also reveals the close similarity to human history. This revelation was handled wittily by the medium of photography.

 

In Seung Hwan Oh’s art, there is a power of unordinary vision about ordinary and plain things. There is also the outcome of the artist’s unique approach to the captured subjects and his reflection upon aesthetics. It is not just the subjects that were selected spontaneously. The idea of camouflage and evolution also got chosen by intuition. Then, his works convey rich symbolic aspects, allegories, sense of wit and beauty, and irony both in serious and humorous ways to the viewers.

Besides, his strategies using a subtle angle, a slight difference of lighting, a poetic pose and slow downed speed add beauty to his photographs. They are also used as appropriate tools to relate to his concepts of camouflage and evolution theory.

 

The voluntarily expressed ambiguity became the factor encouraging people to look at the photograph itself, instead of trying to figure out the identity of the taken subjects. This is the reason why Seung Hwan Oh’s photographs surely appear to be interesting from multiple points of view.

 

Insignificant creatures with no interests, a sinking clock out of order, a butterfly without pretense and ordinary rubber shoes reside in the blind spot of our consciousness. Within that place, Oh’s new logics betrayed fixed ideas of photography and he created the unusual works engaging doubtful imageries seemingly unsuitable to be a subject for photography. The overthrown logics by Seung Hwan Oh gave birth to another proposition of camouflage, not as a simple disguising method but as a life attitude orientated toward evolution or adaptation.

 

In other words, for the artist, choosing a common subject and deconstructing its form as a scar left on screen is camouflage. And generalization of subject’s symbolism by this camouflage is evolution. Therefore, it is not important to know what the initial subject was at the beginning, nor what it refers to after having been processed by camouflage and evolution. His photographs have simply suggested various paradigms of art, bringing significant meanings into his art in addition to his esthetic achievement in photography.

 

    © Seung-Hwan OH | Photography