By Nohyoung Park (Art critic)
Photos let us view a subject better and easier, and in a different light. It brings us closer to nature by showing us things we can’t readily see with our own eyes, and changes our thoughts and ideas. There is a photographer who shows us a small and calm part of nature that has the same effect on us as if we just read a lovely poem or a heard a great piece of music.
Myoung Ho Lee set up a sheet of canvas behind a living tree, a white sheet spread over a desert where the sand meets the sky to create a horizon like the sea. Lee’s canvas represents two meanings of the word ‘aura’.
The first can be the energy surrounding the head or body of Christian saints. Representing holiness, blessings and glory, the Holy Trinity had a triangle aura, the saints and Mother Mary had a round aura, and survivors of persecution had square auras. A circle represents the heavens, a square epresents the ground. A tree is a holy being that symbolizes the union of man and nature. Lee’s art is an act of sanctifying a tree living in nature. Everything in this world is worth that. Not one blade of grass is meaningless or trivial. The aura Lee gives to the tree reminds us of the value of verything that surrounds us.
One of the core values of traditional art was the ritualistic (idolatrous) value that stemmed from the rarity of the ‘right here’ and ‘right now’ factor. The fact that art had an aura meant that it was revered and therefore impossible to critique. The instant we look upon the tree in the photograph is that tree’s aura and the aura of nature. Our being here, living this minute, this second, will pass. The aura Lee gave the tree represents life that has an end and the emptiness that even pain and hatred will disappear.
About the exhibition
Duration: Oct 13 – 26, 2013
Venue: 798 Photo Galley
Opening: Oct 13, 2013 Sun 3:00pm
798 Photo Gallery
Courtesy of the artist and 798 Photo Gallery, for further information please visit www.798photogallery.cn.