Myoung Ho Lee, a young artist from South Korea, has produced an elaborate series of photographs that pose some unusual questions about representation, reality, art, environment and seeing.

Simple in concept, complex in execution, he makes us look at a tree in its natural surroundings, but separates the tree artificially from nature by presenting it on an immense white ground, as one would see a painting or photograph on a billboard.

Below is a shortened and very simplified version of a long essay analyzing the work.

Physical Isolation and its Visual Confirmation

Myoung Ho Lee separates subjects from their original circumstances to derange the difference between subject and image. His work reveals nature by twists and turns, a little fabrication and optical illusion.

Myoung Ho Lee enacts his works as ‘a series of discourses on deconstruction in the photography-act’.

His works are largely composed by following four procedures:

1. Selection of The Subject
2. Separation of The Subject (meta-subject)
3. Photographing
4. Confirmation of The Separation

First, look at the procedure 2: separating the subject from its environmental condition artificially. By setting a big white fabric vertically behind the chosen subject, he makes the subject appear neutral from its original context. The object becomes a ‘separated object’, an ‘ambiguous subject’ and a ‘meta-subject’.

The challenge of the ‘Photography-Act’ is deep. Because ‘Photography-Act’ is not a real subject but a decontextualized and isolated variant from the subject, it is a real subject and non-subject simultaneously.

Procedure 4 confirms the creation of identical chaos to the ‘Photography-Act’ itself by this separation and decontextualization.

—Sang Yong Shim

Editor’s Note: Sang Yong Shim is an art critic and professor at Dongduk Women’s University.