http___www.khmexcerpt from:
© Yunchul Kim, self-portrait.jpg, ink on paper, 90 X 140 em; 58,806 single handwritten characters, 2004.

“…when I deal with art after the media I do not mean art that can exist without media. Such art is no longer conceivable for me. Rather, I refer to artistic praxis that has passed through the media, but in a specific manner has left them far behind. The effect that the media had when they were still an attraction no longer plays an important role. The technical and media aspects of such artistic praxis are not the essence of its attraction. Media are utilized as a matter of course by artists; they are no longer the actual sensation.

In this perspective. the work of a young Korean artist is even more radical. Initially Yunchul Kim studied electronic music at Chugye University in Seoul. He is a programmer, computer and video artist, has created numerous performances with computer-generated music, and realized many installations that utilize the most advanced technology. Self-portrait.jpg is one of Kim’s most unusual works in that at first sight it disappoints all expectations that we entertain of the work of an artist working with advanced media. On a large sheet of finest white Japanese paper measuring 83 X 134 em curious signs have been written, or rather painted, with great precision in black drawing ink. Closer inspection reveals that these are not just any signs, but the character set of the ASCII code. If one were to count the characters, one would arrive at the impressive number 58,806. In a meditation exercise that lasted three and a half months Yunchul Kim painted the characters on the paper. Every time he made a mistake he had to start again from the beginning. The result of this almost Sisyphean task is a work with a high aesthetic appeal and a special bonus: when the characters
are scanned into a computer that can read them and then sent to a printer, what is printed out is a portrait of the artist. However, this is just a second level on which the work exists and is perceived. The decisive factor in the idea of art after the media is that in this case, for example, the artist is a young man who passed through the advanced technical media in the course of his socialization. Self- portrait.jpg succeeds as art in any case, irrespective of technology-based art. It does not need electronics to be performed; it simply hangs on the walL That I know about the work’s technological side enriches my reception of it, but is not a precondition for its aesthetic enjoyment.”


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