The Square is a series of photographs by Korean artist Seokmin Ko. Someone in each photograph can be found holding a mirror toward the camera. Given, the mirror is more easily found in some photographs than others. Still, the mirror in somewhat hides the person holding it, the reflection blending in with the background. This is essentially a camouflage that works by imitating its surroundings. Ko alludes to this in his statement, and draws similarities to social situations. Peer pressure for conformity and social norms compel people to use such a social camouflage. That is to adopt behavior that mimics surrounding groups in order to hide a person’s individuality. Still, fingers peek from behind the mirror – perhaps an allusion to the persistence of individuality.
Of course there are several ways to read Seokmin Ko’s work. Like a mirror it reflects interpretations singular to each viewer. Ko’s most recent solo exhibition illustrates this. Interestingly the curater presents an entirely different approach to the series. In part, the gallery statement brings out:
“Ko is an artist of his own time. The mirrors and reflective glass make more sense as portals to other dimensions—dimensions perhaps similar to ours or radically different. The patterning reflected in the mirror is never a seamless match with the mirror’s immediate surroundings; these works are not about tricking the viewer. In Ko’s images, the human, as the carrier of artifice, is a kind of discrepancy and belongs neither in the natural world nor in the constructed world. This is obvious in the architectural photographs where the human presence disrupts the dehumanizing machine-made grid. Ko’s is a humanist vision amidst a world that has become foreign to its inhabitants as creators, but as Einstein famously said, “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” Ko’s disruptions offer hope.” [via]