In his photo series The Square, Korean artist Seokmin Ko throws a small glitch into reality. In every photo, someone can be seen holding a mirror that obscures everything but their hands wrapped around the edges, in a couple of cases blending them into the surroundings so well that it’s hard to see were they are.
The series is about camouflage, in both the symbolic and literal sense. The literal is obvious: the mirror is hiding the holder by reflecting his or her surroundings. Symbolically, however, this represents what peer pressure often drives us towards in social situations: an attempt to reflect our surroundings to the best of our abilities.
This leaves only “a distorted image,” the only proof that an individual exists behind the reflection being that small finger curling around the edge of the mirror:
Another way to interpret the work is described by the Art Projects International gallery, where Ko is hosting his first US solo exhibition:
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.
However you choose to interpret the work, the images are very interesting to browse through. To see more from Ko, head over to his website or visit his Art Projects International artist page by clicking on the corresponding links.
Image credits: Photographs courtesy of Seokmin Ko and Art Projects International, New York