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Marvel at Taejin Seong's Wood-Carved Comic Book Cities

Selfie-taking robots and technicolor street dogs abound in the Korean artist's futuristic take on woodcarving.
March 18, 2015, 5:30pm
Taejin Seong, I am Happy (detail). Images courtesy of Gallery LVS

If an aging Superman, technicolor street dogs, and selfie-taking samurai is your forté, Taejin Seong might be the artist for you. At Gallery LVS' PULSE NY booth, the Korean artist's work went on display alongside that of fellow countryman Won Kun Jun. Inspired by the titular character in seminal 1970s South Korean film, Robot Taekwon V, Seong carves hyper-textured wood panels and paints them with vibrant pastel and candy colors. "The central figure in Seong’s works is associated with and responds to a lost childhood and disillusionment with society, while the text carvings in the background are associated with the dissemination of the written word and the origins of printmaking," Gallery LVS explains. "Together, Seong’s influences draw a millennia-old art into the 21st century and imbue a more contemporary style with historical significance."

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The works are jam-packed with visual candy, all united by the detail of Seong's carving technique: animals frolic over rooftops, hidden lovers kiss in secret, and texts adorn signs and walls, all like secret messages addressed expressly to viewers. "These recent works are ocular wonderlands where marks of the carving wood reveal layers of colors beneath, further enhancing the textural quality of the wood surface as well as the effects of shadows and depth in the image," the gallery continues. Depicting "tales and dreams that reveal a combination of patriotism, violence, debauchery, and triteness, as a channel for his escapism and role-playing," the gallery concludes, "Seong's works are truly unique and is one of the representatives of Korean contemporary art."

Taejin Seong, Once Call No Die (3-Kwang), 2009. Acrylic and ink on embossed wood panel_23 3/5 × 23 3/5 in (60 × 60 cm)

Taejin Seong, Si-Bal Taxi, 2009. Acrylic and ink on embossed wood panel_23 3/5 × 23 3/5 in (60 × 60 cm)