Icon originated from the Greek word, eikon, meaning image. Plato distinguished mimesis as genuine imitation and fictional illusion. The former is eikon. From this idea, the concept of the icon as a representation of the original sacred being developed. As the meaning of the icon extends, an icon is also human. Not only as idols, but figures that connote characteristics of a period, era, or culture are called icons. Icons are also pictograms in computer monitors. They are analogical symbols that represent a collection of complex data into simple images. In the same context, metaphors and onomatopoeia are iconic articulations because they encompass multi-layered meanings and senses. The scene that a digital screen transmits is an iconic image. The empty spaces between each combination of pixels conclude as a shape in our minds through illusion or imagination. An iconic image stimulates the overall senses. It sparsely provides simultaneous information and enthusiastically demands the viewer’s emotional participation.
Today’s landscape is iconic. The pandemic became our era’s icon, and the faces we meet without contact on the monitor are also icons. The global time that flows simultaneously and the image of Earth viewed through Google Earth are iconic. Awareness integrates with the senses every day. It even seems that time no longer goes by the same way as it did before. A day is reconstructed in social media’s timeline. Momentary news feeds are not listed in order but realigned according to the algorithm that recognizes the user’s preferences and tendencies. After knocking on the door to the 21st century, we started to perceive the world in a slightly different way. What and how does today’s art, which sees reality with one eye and the virtual with the other, record? Let’s take a close look at paintings by young artists based in Seoul. This exhibition calls up six human icons and explores their 34 icons.
- Excerpt from "ICON" | Miran Park · Curator, Exhibition Director at Hakgojae Gallery