Big One Fits for the Big Place

Younggi Kim | Chief Curator, OCI Museum of Art

The repertory of ‘Super Sentai[1]’, which I enjoyed watching in my childhood, was quite straightforward. When a villain is defeated, it is furious, grows himself in size, transforms into a giant monster, and takes revenge. The bulky figures of the villain make buildings even smaller as they only reach the villain’s waist or shoulder, and it might have ended with the scene of joint funeral of heroes if they just fight against them unarmed. However, Dr. Kim, who knows how to prepare things ahead of time, developed a giant robot to protect the Earth. Thanks to him, I can write this text.

A giant monster, so to speak, is the villain’s ‘maxiature[2]’. The villain, who spitted fire, now spreads a firestorm and burns the town, and the winged villain flaps its greater wings. They stubbornly maintain their identity even in a fast-changing world. Indeed, the size is the only difference. There is no way he could be reborn as a gentle monster, and his role is the same to be defeated, even with two rounds of re-appearances. Dying so proudly as they double the running time, the monsters are the hidden heroes of the content.

‘Better to fight with the giant body from the beginning. Why do they make it harder?’

It was thankful, but at the same time, I was doubted. The villains could have won over the heroes before the heroes getting on the robot. As you cannot hear sounds of radio with the mixture of loud dish-washing sound, mom cuts out my tedious questions and say briefly. “Originally, they were big, but reduced themselves. If they just show up, will they be caught so easily?” It makes sense. It is also a miniature for a stuntman who is going to wear a monster suit which is ‘reduced to human size’.

Since then, I have told people that ‘the villain reduced himself from the size of the house’. You might be faced with another opinion that ‘if you inflate the villain, it will be a giant monster’. However, the conclusion was the same. The ‘Red One’ (the center was usually reserved for the red tights No. 1) was always wanted for their turn. Whether it is a miniature monster or a villain’s ‘maxiature’, the only difference is the size. They are, as always, just villains. And it is your turn.

(in front of a building)

“Oh that? It’s not a public sculpture. I reduced ‘my giant work that was originally the size of the building’ to the elephant size. It is a ’miniature’.”

(at an exhibition hall)

“Oh this? It’s not a piece of art. I raised the fist-size public sculpture to the size of a watermelon. It’s ‘maxiature’.”

“Then, is it an art work in the front of the building and a public sculpture in the white cube…?”

‘Outdoor sculpture, open-area sculpture, environmental sculpture, public sculpture, art work, art facility…’ There are a lot of miscellaneous names which have not been sorted out yet. However, ‘forms’ seem to be a common denominator.

According to ‘Article 9 of the Arts and Culture Promotion Act’, it imposes ‘the installation of art work in front of buildings’. Article 12, Section 4 of the Enforcement Decree divides this ‘art work’ into ‘visual art’ and ‘public sculpture’. Examples of the former include ‘paintings, sculptures, crafts, photography, calligraphy, murals, media art, etc.’, and the latter includes ‘things worthy of recognition as works of art, such as fountains’. Therefore, the general type of art shown in the exhibition hall is ‘visual art’, and the type of facility standing next to a building is ‘public sculpture[3]’.

‘Public’ has a broad meaning including ‘public or unspecified majority’ as well as ‘publicity’. Considering the “tiki-taka” with the uncontrolled surroundings whether it is a space or a person, and respecting the legal term, it is referred to as a ‘public sculpture’ in this text.

There are a lot of articles pointing out senseless public sculptures that do not match the surroundings, calling it ‘visual pollution’. If it is the face of the main square, it should be filled with the universal aesthetic sense of ‘visual pleasure’ as far as it does not intrude on the artist’s characteristics and artistic value. Whether it is a local attraction or an eyesore depends on two things. The first is the attitude and conscience of each artist who makes the public sculpture, and the second is the system’s[4] self-purification, tolerance, and the guarantee of fairness/transparency. Social capital, such as empathy for necessity, procedural trust, public understanding and support, and cooperation of the local community, is the basic ground for all fields of civil society beyond public sculpture and art and culture field, so it is a waste of fingers if I pick it as the third.

However, the words of ‘attitude and conscience’, which were mentioned at the first above, are split on the issue even among artists. “Is the public sculpture a work of art?”, “Art is not their preference, and they sell their soul to money.” “They are a fund hunter who has abandoned the coexistence”, “He is a great worker. Not in the art field, but in the industry.”, “An artist? He is a merchant.”… Peaceful agreement on this issue seems to be more awkward, because the mechanism is quite different from the general art market, and even a small financial interest is related.

Art works and public sculptures can be divided clearly. However, you need to take a close look. Is it ‘an artist as a manager who designs/operates/continues production’ or ‘an artist as a subject of creative expression’? As a manager, the artist organizes production, connects work, and strategically embodies ideas and concepts. Artist cannot simply turn around from the complex procedures, harsh verification, great capital, and more interests. Although there are differences in proportions and aspects, all artists have these two attributes. Otherwise, you are not an artist by nature, or you will not survive.

The controversy usually takes place between the manager and the artist while it is unclear whose hand divides the pie. Of course, there can be ‘artists’ whose art works and public sculptures are separate. However, Yun Sung Feel asserts that “They are all my works” and “It’s just the size”. “That’s the only difference.” They are just big and small pieces to him.

“Oh~ Hey~ What’s wrong with this finishing? It doesn’t look cool at all. Let’s repaint this. I can’t bare it.”

“Is it all safe during the earthquake? Are you sure? … What if it shakes twice?”

In the workshop, the final procedure is taking place. Even if you trim a piece of plastic or cut dozens of door size iron plates, people only pay attention to the work, saying “Be careful with the work.” It is regardless of the works to go to the exhibition hall or to the public sculptures to be installed at the building. Big or small, once you start, you hang on to it all day. Even if sleeping only two to three hours for days or months and blinking with red eyes, it doesn’t matter. “It’s worthwhile” when it is done. On the other hand, you sometimes cannot help to say “Exhausted”, “Wasted”, and “Can’t do twice.” Hong Gil Dong, who was not allowed to call his father and brother, might have been jealous, because there is not a discrimination on the works. All of them are real sons.

The ‘art works’ finally leave out of the workshop. He looks at the magnificent works quietly from a distance.

“Going to miss it?”

He hesitates and shakes his head.

“A big thing fits for a big place.”

[1] A live-action animated film that fights against villains by transforming into five heroes wearing colorful tights for whole body and full-face helmets. It is also called special effects filming and transformation anime.

[2] An antonym word of miniature. The numerator is larger than denominator, enlarged scale, magnification, and multiplying.

[3] According to Article 2, Section 2 of the Ordinance on the Installation and Management of Public Sculptures in Jung-gu, Seoul, public sculpture is subdivided into ‘art facilities’ such as painting, sculpture, craft, photography, and calligraphy, and ‘environmental facilities’ such as murals, fountains, outdoor stages, and waterfalls, and ‘symbolic sculptures’ such as symbolic towers, monuments, and statues. The same classification is made in the ‘Ordinance on the Construction and Management of Public Sculptures in Chungcheongbuk-do’.

[4] It includes planning(public policy making, advisory), selection(examination), and operation(administration, maintenance).