Korean Houses Painting by Ingo Baumgarten: The Anthropology of Korean Architecture
TEXT AMANDAS ONG
As a German artist who is currently living and working in Seoul, Ingo Baumgarten offers an incisive, thoughtful take on the aesthetics of memory through his paintings of Korean buildings and houses.
With a particular focus on houses built between the 1970s and the 1990s, Baumgarten seizes upon the inconspicuous details of seemingly orthodox architectural structures and accentuates them on the canvas. In doing so, he renews awareness of the sociological functions and meanings concealed within the built environment that the viewer inhabits and interacts with on a daily basis.
Baumgarten’s observations of subway stations, bridges, schools and traditional houses portray a wealth of contesting histories beneath the veneer of cosmopolitan loneliness often ascribed to sprawling cities like Seoul.
By adopting close-up viewpoints of geometric forms in floors, columns, roofs and staircases, he confronts and thwarts the viewer’s assumptions about what is familiar and therefore nondescript. His paintings may be read as visual ethnographies of Seoul’s urban landscape, revealing the unique character of the city as a hodgepodge of different elements drawn from both the past and the contemporary.
Korean Houses Painting will show at Eugean Gallery in Seoul from 22 March to 19 April 2013