Rho Jae-oon

, ,
Rho Jae-oon

Once Noir, Once SF, object, 38x38x124cm, 2009

The Pacific, view of interface, Atelier Hermes, 2009

This World is a Sea of Blood, object, 30x190x2cm, 2009
Some Men are Worse than Ghosts, and Some Ghosts are Better than men, object, 30x195x2cm, 2009

Rho Jae-oon, A Universal History of Infamy*
Hyun See-won, Art Critic

The Rocks
A man walks endlessly. He has no idea what time it is, or where he is. What is apparent is he came on foot, while saying goodbye to many female Chinese pirates, and young warriors of the Korean War. He feels traces of strange rocks and bizarre stones. The land is flat, but rocks catch his eye. The infinite and fantastic are lost due to this interruption. Small and large rocks look tender, but also like high-rising buildings with a face of fearlessness.
The man cannot tell if it is night or day, or what the date is. The only thing that is important is he is walking at the moment. Nobody forces him to move. He is uninterested by being absorbed into a fabricated story with beginning and end. A film director asks if space formed by the rocks is proper or not for the man: he thinks about this guy falling in some state, doing nothing, without a sense of persistence. So he presents him with a vast sea from an ink painting with strange rocks and stones.

The Pacific
The sea is an archive. The generating, remains, dead bodies, and those not dead and using several languages dream in the sea. A man stands in the middle. On the sea, he remembers and pines for histories on the land. He is on the sea, but somehow not on it. On land he collected many things. He recalls the image of a white dove from the news in 2009 and a woman reciting a monolog in a black-and-white film. The woman sings, dances, and spreads her arms widely. She was loved by a film director who loved the montage effect. The man without a word wonders. He looks at wrecks in the middle of the Pacific. Does the sea link this place to that? Or, divide lands? It is confusing rather than curious. Wrecks meet while floating on the sea.
Keeping an eye on the man, the film director decides to conceive a map to express the sea’s movement. But, he can never select which form, among the repetition of triangles, lozenges, and horizontal stripes, describes the waves. He cannot conceive the basic form to define them. The director wants to express a martyr’s aspiration plunging into the waves. However, he has no intention to talk about a link between here and there.

In the Black Head
The man walks undirected. Despite defiance, he feels fresh and energized in sharing space-time with others. The man realizes the film director peeps into his head, while he wonders without destination. The man is indulged in reading about hoodlums in A Universal History of Infamy (Historia universal de la Infamia) by Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986) and other references to the 13th and 15th centuries. He realizes how many other people wander on the stage of time. He notices in 2009 more hoodlums desperately living in the Internet, on their missions. This is the enormous gathering of stories formed through an accumulation of wanderings.
There was no physical response to a weird space sensed in The Rocks and The Pacific in cyberspace. The man enters at great speed. His body is on the chair, but his brain floats over the Earth like a black cloud. He crosses the 38th parallel, shakes hands with the president, or enters in a psychological conflict in an ancient film. Sound music resounds magnificently or lowly not to disturb immersion. There is no silence and barrier here. One can go everywhere, and see everything with his eyes closed. Floating over the head is an ambiguous and at times vivid space. No sweat is required to move this space to that space. New narratives come out ceaselessly. One wants to speak to someone, but nobody has the face.
The man decides not to be assimilated within a story. He sees the universe and the underground world in his head, that is, cyberspace. After taking a rest he continues his expedition. He has not time to sleep tonight. Looking at the man moving, the film director thinks he is like an image he saw in the past, He falls asleep, and time goes on.

*The above is an essay about an imaginary man in Roh Jae-oon’s work. The man might be a figure in a film, or edited out by a director. For The Rocks section I use a motif from two dimensional works displayed at his 2010 solo show About Time. For The Pacific section, I take a motif from works displayed at the 2009 Ermes Art Award winners’ exhibition. And for In the Black Head, I take a motif from his 2006 work, Black Gold in Switzerland.