Osang Gwon’s exhibition ‘Masspatterns’ opened this week at ManMade Wooyoungmi Seoul, presenting the Wooyoungmi / Osang Gwon SS13 collaboration alongside a selection of his previous work. Designer Woo Youngmi caught up with him for a chat about his work, fashion and the Wooyoungmi collaboration.
Osang Gwon Exhibition Catalogues
WYM: Obviously you are a fashionable guy. What do you look for when you select clothing?
GWON: I like it if the clothes are made of a special material or if the pattern is unique. And I strive toward special clothes. However due to my short legs and arms, I have to suppress these aspirations and restrain myself. I try to dress in line with the situation and to wear clothes that suit my body.
WYM: It’s not the first time that you created work in a fashion related context. How has the collaboration with Wooyoungmi been different from other collaborations you did before?
GWON: It’s different that a collaborative work is used for an advertising campaign in European magazines. I think it’s a bold move to use the image of the artist’s works for an entire season’s advertising for a brand. The small solo show at the ManMade space will also be a special experience.
work by Osang Gwon at ManMade Wooyoungmi Seoul
WYW: Were there any challenges?
GWON: In terms of the artwork there were no special requirements. I found it rather interesting that the wooyoungmi S/S 2013 collection was inspired by patterns from various regions. On the internet I looked for images of animals with a pattern to complete this piece. It was certainly not easy to create something reflecting the wooyoungmi collection – garment, form or color.
WYW: How was the photo shoot with the models?
GWON: The model shoot for my work is for all participants a rather tedious task that requires concentration and time. Benoni, who appeared in the 13 S/S 2013 Wooyoungmi Paris show, came all the way from Paris to the studio in Seoul to work with us. And in the case of Ji Hwa Seob, he had to endure 6 hours with over 2000 shots.
WYW: From the artist’s point of view: what is the relationship between fashion and art?
GWON: In my early works the first poses were influenced by fashion ads. However, these poses often stem originally from classical sculpture or painting. That is why my artworks have also been influenced by classical sculpture as well as fashion ads. In addition, as my work is also used for fashion ads there seems to be a mutual influence.
WYW: What kind of role does fashion play in your “Deodorant Type” series?
GWON: The model poses of my early work were influenced by fashion ads, so naturally by collaborating with fashion magazines, fashion companies, and department stores, I often reflected upon the fashion trends of that time. Fashion ads can reflect the current times with a little bit of fantasy. Because of that my work also reflects fashion in a positive way.
WYW: Looking at your works, one would suppose you get a lot of inspiration from fashion and lifestyle magazines. What are other sources of inspiration for you?
GWON: I think living as an artist in a big city like Seoul is a source of inspiration in itself.
WYW: With works such as the ready-made-car or the torso of a motorbike it is likely that you even interest men, who are more alien to art. So do you consider yourself also partly an art mediator?
GWON: If the general public reacts positively to my work I’m pleased. However, the majority ask why this motorcycle, why cut out magazines and take photographs of the cut-out again etc. ‘Why does he do this kind of strange art?’, is also something that many people think. However, I think it can be interesting to think about art from a new point of view rather than the typical way.
WYM: Do you have a favorite motto?
GWON: Do not get frustrated, start now.
Woo Youngmi, Osang Gwon and model Si Hwa Seop