On Curating Zu Doyang’s Solo Exhibition, Insect Eyes-The Origin of Sight

Jan 26, 2016 9:40AM

DO YANG ZU <INSECT EYES-The Origin of Sight>

Jan. 15th – Mar. 18th 2016

Savina Museum of Contemporary Art

Written by  Kang Jae-hyun (Director of Exhibitions, Savina

                   Museum of Contemporary Art)

Korean-English Translation is supported by Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and Korea Arts Management Service

Translated by Ewha Research Institute for Translation Studies

The title of photographer Do Yang Zu’s solo exhibition is Insect Eyes—The Origin of Sight. For the artist, the medium of photography has been a means to seek answers for the question of “how to see.” To see from a perspective other than the human eye, Zu expands his take on the world and reflects upon his inner world through a vast array of lenses. His previous works reveal that he has created a wide range of unique images that break from the conventional by distorting visible landscapes and circumscribing the world in the form of a circle. The artist’s multiple experiments with photographical and printing techniques, such as the use of both manual and automatic cameras, along with conventional and digital photo printing, not only present a source of aesthetic pleasure for the viewers but also a point of curiosity towards his method of photography. These works are the product of the artist’s scientific curiosity, imagination, and research on different perspectives towards the world. Do Yang Zu’s exhibition showcases not only his completed works of photography but also various installations illustrating the nature and principles of photography, as a new approach departing from the conventional form of exhibitions in order to delve into the artist’s innermost intentions and thoughts. The equipment from his studio has been moved into the exhibition hall to allow the audience a glimpse of the photographer’s work and experimentation processes, including his method of developing pictures using a diverse range of chemicals, films discarded after original development, and completed photographs. The corner of the exhibition hall transforms into the artist’s workroom, conjuring the fantastical image of an alchemist’s laboratory. The exhibition is arranged to lead the visitors to retrace the steps in the artist’s work, and subsequently question the basic principles of the act of “seeing” as opposed to viewing photography simply as an image.

Hexapoda III, C-Print, Kodak E100G, Handmade pinhole camera, 120x170cm, 2016

While preparing this exhibition, titled Insect Eyes, we consulted insect experts on the question of whether the world seen from the perspective of an insect truly reflects the insect’s viewpoint, as imagined by the artist. Three experts gave their insight on the methods through which insects perceive forms and colors, but they all agreed that it is impossible to know the exact answer without becoming an insect ourselves. Nonetheless, Do Yang Zu’s works provide an opportunity for the audience to liberate their line of sight from the preconceived perspective of humans that walk upright. Through his works, the audience is led to see downtown parks and the landscape of streets through the eyes of a miniscule creature and from very low or very high, thus experiencing a world unknown to humans. This exhibition is also significant in providing an educational experience in terms of photography as an opportunity to appreciate pictures as art forms, understand photographic principles, and the visual experience towards humankind and nature, as well as the realization of the sheer difference made in our perspectives towards the world by cameras, which were originally developed to bring us closer to nature. Furthermore, the compilation book of Do Yang Zu’s work, which is to be published along with the exhibition’s opening, is a rich archive of experiments conducted by the artist through the medium of photography based upon personal contemplation and observation. The Savina Museum has sought to host various interdisciplinary exhibitions over the last 20 years, and places the limelight on the artist Do Yang Zu for his interest and passion towards science, continued experimentation and theoretical research on the way we see things, and the flexible artistic attitude fostered by his open mind.

Wetland, C-Print, 100X200cm, 2016