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Let There Be Light | Sun Young Choi

The American conceptual artist and philosopher, Adrian Piper, stated that there is a distinct correlation between the 2000s and the ‘60s. There was interest in Eastern philosophy in the 1960s and new-age healthcare is a concept similar to meditation now; from the sexual revolution of the 1960s to feminism now; from the countercultural communities of the 1960s to the leftist, communitarian politics now, and from the organic food/back-to-the-land movements of the 1960s to the environmental movement today, all of those 1960s’ trends were influenced by psychedelics. Psychedelic art refers to the counterculture art movement in the late 1960s that involved paintings, designs, and posters that were rendered in provocative and delirious images similar to the visual hallucinations that appear when our senses, which perceive objects through light, are maximized by LSD and other psychotropics. The primary representational principle of psychedelic art lies in the pursuit and repetition of distorted or geometric shapes and the use of brilliant colours rather than ultraprecise microscopic depiction. If psychedelics were the spiritual basis of the 1960s, what is its basis in the modern-day world? Video images dominate this era more than at any other time. The “Age of the Image,” a BBC documentary, emphasized the power of images by dubbing the current era as such. Psychedelia, which dominated the spirit of the 1960s, pursued the illusion of images that evoked a dizzy and even nauseating sense through the combination of complex shapes and colours. I have designed clothes that derive their motifs from the moire fringe and the pronounced effect and focus on light as the origin that manifests the colours and shapes. A total of fifteen outfits were designed to remind modern-day digital natives not of the negative aspects of images, but of the beauty and innate meaning of light as the origin that creates images by expressing the longing for the fundamental and spiritual beauty that is symbolized by light. Since ancient times, light has served as a figurative essence that symbolizes the divinity of the absolute being. In Christianity, too, light is the most important essence, as it connects heaven and earth, the sacred and the secular. In the Old Testament, light is related to life, happiness, law, and wisdom, and in the New Testament, it also symbolizes transcendental sacredness. The early Greek fathers of the Orthodox Church thought that as beauty itself, God mediated between us and the ideal world through the symbol of physical or spiritual light. They believed that light occurred on earth from the discharge of light as such, that the divine beauty of heaven could be re-enacted through the splendour of colour and the physical luxury that symbolized light, and souls could be elevated through such re-enactment. In The Origin of the Work of Art, Martin Heidegger said, “Beauty is the way in which truth occurs as unconcealment.” Similarly, I hope the light of revelatory truth that the invisible God as the transcendental being presents to us will reveal something of itself through this collection. I am pleased to introduce you to my online exhibition, “Let There Be Light”. The presentation is composed of two videos; one of the films presents the concept of the exhibition and the other one is commentary.


The Fashion Gallery, Institute of Textiles & Clothing, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University


Online from 21.12.2020

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