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Shin Myung June’s work is all about perception. It encourages one to take time to see our reality from different angles. To see what the world looks like to others. To feel and absorb the world with your eyes wide open and also firmly shut. Shin’s work manifests a stubbornness in the artist to not see the world as the way we thoughtlessly accept it to be. Instead, Shin chooses to look at the world in the way he feels it might or will be. The work wrestles with the world beyond our perception and brings those things forward in his illuminating and jarring work. In “Planet”(pg.10) a spherical ball covered in random household and electronic hardware is perched in front of four prints. Across the sphere a silver wire bends in cursive to spell the word “position.” An apt word for Shin’s work. His art drives home the notion that how we perceive things in this world and the universe remains all about where we stand or where we choose to position ourselves. Position is important to this installation in particular because from where one takes in the work is important to how the work is perceived. Should one choose to orbit the sphere in the middle of the installation different work will act as background. Of the 4 pictures hanging around the sphere, 3 of them have the look of something found on an engineer's drafting board or maybe on a physicist's desk, while the other is a collage of photographs. Structure,

precision, questions, and possible solutions in these prints surround the black sphere that is covered in random bits of hardware. Look too close and you might miss the big picture, step too far back and you might miss the details. Take it in without distraction or time constraint and you might come to some perceived conclusions about Shin’s artistic motivation. Shin’s work is diverse in the mediums he takes on. In one short film titled, “Fusion”, the camera follows a man around an abandoned building. Grass and weeds have grown around it, windows are broken, and walls have crumbled. He pulls a black bag from his pocket that one might get from a local market filled with a kilo of apples or eggplants and he puts it over his head. He walks around the building still seeming to see the debris around the building from years of decay despite the opaque black bag on his head. In the building a mannequin sits in a chair looking off into the distance. The man, with the bags still over his head, stares into the eyes of the mannequin and then follows the mannequin’s eyes that look out onto more decay. With another mannequin in a box, he reaches his hand to touch the lifeless hand as if to feel the warmth and life of this non-living thing. He still to seem see and feel despite the handicap.

 

The feeling Shin emanates feels dystopian to some extent. The last man on earth looking around at an empty and decaying world. And this feeling carries over to Shin’s installations and mixed media work.The materials he uses are often employed in ways they weren’t intended. It is as if an alien has taken these household items and used them in unintended ways. There is no comfort found in Shin’s work, there is only what you see and how you choose to see it. Though he uses bright colors and shiny objects, you don’t get lost in the colors or in the beauty, instead you get thrown into a work that provokes a discomfort that forces you to move around and find the perception of the work that may or may not suit you.

 

글_Whit Altizer