It’s a rapidly changing world, and the trend is to focus on living in the present. However, it is easy to find the beauty of the past affecting today’s busy hectic modern life. But there is an age that past artists and current photographers are together. To offset an age of massive image overflow on social media networks, the exhibition ‘Vogue Like a Painting’ presents visitors with the unique beauty of photography found in classical paintings. Through the exhibition, Vogue and other prominent photographers provide guests the chance to explore the relationship between fashion photography and paintings. SMT reporter went to the exhibition to bask in the beauty of photographs presented under the theme ‘Vogue Like a Painting’.
Beautiful Conversation Between Photography and Painting
‘Vogue Like a Painting’ explores the relationship between fashion photography and paintings through carefully selected works from the archives of the worldwide renown magazine Vogue. The main objective of the exhibition is to showcase Vogue in the same light as the Louvre museum. Photographs from some of the most influential masters of fashion photography over the years such as Irving Pen, Paulo Roberto, and Peter Lindberg shed light on the link between fashion photography and masterpieces by painters such as Caravaggio, Renoir, Gogh, Dali and Klimt. The photographs were inspired by masterpieces from different eras in art history, and as such, bring new lives to past paintings. Valentino and Rolfe’s haute couture dresses along with the Prada collection inspired by historical paintings in the video by filmmaker Sam Taylor Johnson presents yet another beauty accessible to visitors. In other words, the exhibition provides visitors with diversified perspectives of classical paintings for people of the 21st century. Vogue chose 118 of its pieces from its archives around the world to use for 125 years for ‘Vogue Like a Painting’. The Korean exhibition of Vogue Like a Painting used 40 masterpieces from its Korean archive in the exhibition, which made the exhibition unique from other nations hosting the Vogue Like Painting exhibition such as Spain and 20 pieces of ‘Vogue Korea’. Photographs at the exhibition are carefully crafted works of art. Though they draw on inspiration from painting of yesteryear, they are unique and eye-catching. The easiest way to get to Seoul Arts Center, where ‘Vogue Like a Painting’ is currently being shown, from Sookmyung Women’s University, is to take Subway Line 4 with a transfer at Chungmuro Station to Subway Line 3. At Nambu Bus Terminal, get off the train and walk to the Seoul Arts Center. Those who do not wish to walk can hop on Seocho 11 bus, which is just outside the Station in front of exit 5. The bus stops directly in front of Seoul Arts Center.
Six Sections that Bustle with the Flow of Time
The exhibition is divided into six sections: ‘Portrait’, ‘Still Life Painting’, ‘Rococo’, ‘Landscape Painting’, ‘Avant Garde & Pop Art’, and ‘Vogue Korea’. Upon entering the main exhibition hall, guests encounter a large video screen that is only visible in the dark. The film introduces the working that is done behind the scenes at a studio and the theme of the exhibition. The short film leaves watchers feeling the magnificence and depth of the exhibition they are about to explore. With photographic work also categorized by painting artwork dates, visitors are sure to grasp the subtle points photographers drew from the paintings in their work. In the first section ‘Portrait’, guests explore the history of photography, which has developed alongside painting history, through photographs that have taken a step with the changing history of time. The most memorable piece from this section is Blue Memberfeld’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring”, which is one of Johannes Permir’s most well-known masterpieces. The lady in the photo turns her head to look back, which makes onlookers focus on her pearl earrings, the core of the photograph. The beauty of this photograph is the photographer’s use of angle and accessories to capture a particular emotion rather than merely centering only on composition. The second section, “Still Life Painting”, recreates objects from their simple beginnings to hidden masterpieces. Irving Penn’s ‘Still Life with Watermelon’ expresses the beauty of symbolism and nihilism through watermelons in unfit things. Visitors reflect on their own sense of wit from the fabulous composition and creative ideas in the section ‘Still Life’. The third and fourth sections ‘Rococo’ and ‘Landscape Painting’ express beauty using pastel and gold colors to make one sense the ideas of cleanliness and refreshment. The splendid interior decorations and pastel make-up tones that are used in Rococo works reinterpret the beauty of past nobility according to his artistic style. In the fifth section, ‘Avant Garde & Pop Art’, visitor encounter work inspired by art in the 20th century also known as the period of upheaval. We can see many artistic features about fashion. In particular, ‘Nick Knight’s Show Studio’ is a wonderful piece sure to attract everyone’s eyes. It leaves one with an active dynamic feeling, representing the work that Nick Knight has ever shot. While the photograph may not be beautiful to behold, there is beauty in its ability to make one visualize the actual shooting moment. Lastly, the sixth section ‘Vogue Korea’ brings into the exhibition a bit of Korea with its use of Vogue Korea archived photographs. Visitors are given the chance to photos of well-known Korean models like Han Hyejin and celebrities like Song Hyegyo by Vogue Korea photographers.
Vogue, Celebration of Beauty
It is strictly prohibited to take pictures at the exhibition, but visitors may obtain permission to take photos by requesting a special exception in advance. To better understand the photos and the connection to paintings, this SMT reporter recommends the use of an audio guide. The audio guide will most certainly enable the user to better see the attraction of the photos. After exploring the exhibition, there is a souvenir shop just before the exit. The shop sells various items related to Vogue such as eco bags, mug cups, and t-shirts so that visitors can be reminded of their time there later. ‘Vogue Like a Painting’ is well worth a visit, and to keep the time memorable, a small souvenir purchase could help retain the beauty of the visit in years to come.