The Trinity Place Building B2/B3, 79 Cheongdam-dong, Gangnam-gu
18th March- 16th April
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday 10:30am- 6pm. Closed Sunday
Darren Almond has been busy making a name for himself in the art world over the past decade and by now is well known for works dealing with themes of time in terms of personal, historical and geographical memory. Obsessed with geographical and physical limits, he presents extreme situations to his observers. His exhibition, ‘Darren Almond,’ at PKM Trinity Gallery in Cheongdam showpieces exactly these main themes.
A series of photos titled ‘Arctic Plates’ (2003) confront the viewer as they enter. We are offered a close up view of pristine blue tinged snowscapes that look cold, lonely and somewhat menacingly beautiful. They are no doubt places where few people have had the privilege of seeing in the flesh. The isolated feel is continued in the 7 ‘Fullmoon’ photos exhibited. Almond has arguably become synomous with these photographic works which he has been taking since 1998. He takes photos with long exposures of upto 15 minutes during these werevolves’ nights, in remote locations. They appear ethereal and the brilliant light captured in them tricked me into wondering if it was actually sunlight that they were taken in. The ferocious sea around Yesnaby stack in Orkney is tamed into a smooth, soupy fog, whilst Loch Dawn looks like it could be a steaming cauldron of witches brew straight from the pages of Macbeth. Due to the long exposure, singular moments have not been been captured in these otherworldly photos, but rather a whole history of moments spanning hundreds, if not thousands of years. I was left wondering about the thousands of pairs of eyes throughout history which had no doubt pondered the same natural wonders as I am now.
4 videos give the viewer a wider insight into Almond’s obsessions. ‘Arctic Pull’ (2003), shows the artist pulling a sled on which the camera is bound, across the arctic during the dead of night. ‘Bearing’ (2007), shows an Indonesian sulpher miner dragging a 100kg load from a volcanic crater to the weighing station. ‘Tomorrow’s Dawn’ (2010) shows a Japanese monk’s endeavour to walk circuits of the same mountain for 100 consecutive days. They all deal with time, obsession, and if not outright religion, a personal journey akin to a religious one. They deal with people and their relationship that they form with the earth in their short time on it.
Being a Scottish expat in Korea, I suppose that I was so taken by Almond’s Full Moons as most were shot in Scotland in green and brown mossy hues that I find so comforting. But it goes far beyond nostalgia for me. I love how they could have been taken under any full moon and in any given year; they are timeless works of art. I love that through the videoworks, Almond highlighted man’s intrinsic need to form a bond, or make a mark on Earth. He takes us out of our own little bubbles to appreciate the timeless beauty and history of the world.