The Square: Photos of Artist Seokmin Ko Blending Into the World Behind His Mirror


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.

(via Photojojo)

Image credits: Photographs courtesy of Seokmin Ko and Art Projects International, New York

  • A_Lwin

    If only the hands were not showing…

  • Fernando Callo

    I also thought that the first time I saw these images but then I realized that that is the whole point of the series, to confuse us and make us think about perspective and reality. For example, in picture number 13 I can’t see any hands and it’s kinda boring, it’s just another photo of a building. But that’s my point :)

  • MS

    Awesome! I think the hands add some comedy. If there weren’t ay hands, you wouldn’t look twice at them.

  • Becca Gulliver

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who couldn’t see the hands in that image. Was beginning to think I needed to book an eye exam.

  • McGraffix

    Nice work and nicely done too.

    I do wonder if so called artists (the ‘so-called’ is not meant to be derogatory) would not, if they were very honest to themselves and to us, instead of having to come up with a statement or a deeper meaning to justify their work and craft, just say that they had a nice idea and liked working on it, just because they felt like it and creating stuff gives them a good feeling. I’m sure that’s exactly what it’s like when you get down to it. The reason-giving comes afterwards and – to me at least – seems most times rather contrived and mainly instigated by the people that are to sell your work and earn money off it.
    It has been researched that you brain ‘knows’ what ‘you’ are going to do seconds before you do :) (

  • Dylan Roberts

    Almost has a ‘Where’s Wally’ feel to the pictures, took me forever to find him in the fourth image from the bottom.

  • Jon Gray

    I think he’s in the elevator

  • Genkakuzai

    Great shots! I definitely think the showing hands add to the photo.

  • Adrian van Vliet

    Confirmed: if you look REALLY close, there’s a single hand (and lower arm) in the elevator. I think they’re using the metallic doors as the mirror in that one…?

  • Adam Cross

    no different to surrealist inspired work in the 70’s

  • Nikki

    Fun trying to spot the mirror — sort of like a “Where’s Waldo?” series.

  • Veris Vander

    didn’t PP already post at least 2 other series that were based on the same ideal/premise?

  • Urs Basteck

    The way I see it – and I’ve been struggling with this:

    There are so-called artists and so-called artists ;) The ones who, at some point, would (and should) like to find out WHY they are having certain ideas and who consequently would also like to able to define this ‘why’ – and the ones who have to invent random bullsh*t in order to hide the absence of any ‘why’.