“Garden of Memes” introduces contemporary artists who embody their own world of work using the methodology of imitation and cloning under the theme of “memes,” the digital generation’s visual characters. A meme is easy to make, easy to share, and intuitive for anyone to recognize, but they are somewhat meaningless. It has become a symbol of the changing world in the digital image communication era and a type of everyday conceptualism. This attitude to overthrow realistic norms and to break down the cultural and artistic classes, in fact, resembles the legacy of Dadaism and pop art in contemporary art. “Garden of Memes” focuses on the way contemporary artists repossess images through revelation and imagination in an era with platforms where anyone can easily create images and communicate with each other. This attempt will be an opportunity to look at how the artistic language of those who freely cross the boundaries of everyday life without being bound by art forms or aesthetic rhetoric gains uniqueness in the post-Internet era, while also looking at the impact of meme politics on contemporary visual culture.
Ram Han’s gaze recognizes images found in everyday life and images found in media in the same sense. Ram Han has been working on listing scenes that she receives through the real world and virtual world in one worldview—without distinction. She is interested in recalling nostalgia or vivid scenes from memories, including the scenes that she has never seen before, but wants to see. Ram Han is ceaselessly supplied with rising/replicated images through social media, accepts random images without filtering, and uses visual textures, colors, and elements that match her worldview as materials. She hopes that resulting works will be considered as familiar landscapes of contemporary times, which ignores the dimensions of reality and the virtual world.
babo_F, Souvenir04_F(Cockpit), The Last Day of the World
Recently, people posted a way to find how smart your cats are: if you lift a cat and stick it to the wall, you can see if the cat pushes the wall with the soles of its feet, or its face and body touch the wall without resistance. Such posts became very popular online and it became a meme in Korea. Aside from the scientific credibility of the post, known as “Cat Intelligent Test,” many people who have cats as pets enjoyed posting videos of their cats touching the wall on the Internet as if it were a relay game.
At that time, Ram Han was deeply concerned about the health of herself and others as well as about the well-being of people, and she was moved by those numerous Internet memes and gifs. In Babo_F the artist embodied the experience in her own visual language after she witnessed another possibility of memes in the flood of image communication, which is mainly made up of futile jokes thrown around by many people.
The Souvenir series expresses the futility of humble souvenirs in contrast to travelers’ fantasies about travel destinations. Images of souvenirs such as key rings, plates, and dolls that are easily accessible at tourist attractions along with airplanes, hotels, and oceans are mixed from a traveler’s perspective. These are contrasted using the principles of landscape paintings and still life artworks.
Among them, Souvenir04_F (Cockpit) is an imaginary version of a conversation that a passenger spaceship would have had with a control room in a world on the brink of collapse, expressing the crashed spaceship, the summer sea, and the end-of-century romance they would have all dreamed of.
Inspired by C.S. Lewis’s novel of the same name, The Last Night of the World was a theme presented by the artist when she was a member of a collective group called Spectrum Object, and is a remake of the old work for this exhibition. The artist took the novel with a religious theme as a more everyday story, and imagined a scene of a novel regarding an unexpected silent collapse, not apocalyptic chaos, depicting her imagination as the backdrop of this work. Ram Han continuously worried about the existence of “I” in the world, which is closed without exception or discrimination, and eventually recalls the daily scene of a person hugging a cat and looking into the world on a smartphone every night before going to bed. The helpless and ordinary daily life, which seems contrary to the background of a dystopia, amplifies irony in this work.
- Digital painting, light panel
- 1220 × 1860 mm
- Digital painting, light panel
- 1360 × 1620 mm
The Last Day of the World
- 1360 × 1360 mm