Defensive Measure #2

The aluminum mechanical devices

Son Jong-jun not only presented Defensive Measure as a complete photograph exhibit, but also as a form of recorded performance. This performance involved a model dressed as a city-dweller with a mechanical device fitted over the clothing, walking in the city. Although the model appears to blend with people, surrounding him is a sort of defensive zone, a boundary, and both the model and surrounding people are forced to keep a certain distance from each other. This is because of a silvery mechanical device. Of course, people might have kept away from the model because of the crude and dangerous appearance. However, more than any other reason, people kept aloof because this plainly aggressive image suggested the possibility of some sort of conflict or physical harm. Continuous transfer and migration within densely crowded space is characteristic of large metropolitan cities. By wearing a visually aggressive and defensive device, Son’s photographed performer pushes others away and holds a superior position within an imaginary battle.


The name of the series of this type of his artwork is Defensive Measure, and it is somewhat known to people who keep up with the recent trends in the Korean art arena. The descriptive title, Defensive Measure, reminds people of the military. It protects us from enemies or others. According to this principle, the most effective method is prior prevention. The tendency of removing dangerous elements to rescue ourselves from existing danger can be interpreted as a “defensive measure.” This artist asserts that, not only do social groups take such defensive measures, but that each individual person also operates self-defensive measures. We should concentrate on the artist’s observation, asserting that the distinctiveness, which differentiates the past from the present; and the distinctiveness of modern civilization, which leads each individual entity to be further independent from the total integrity.

What the artist Son Jong-jun produces is a tool to defend himself, and it can also perform as a weapon

In the era where total integrity is lost, each individual’s carefully planned self-defense will become the only way of life. Son Jong-jun cannot simply accept that this phenomena is happening. The crudeness of aluminum, not reflecting the silver shine outward, but contains it inward, expresses our anxiety about our helpless self-defense in an exaggerated fashion. The connection of protruding bolts and nuts, which resembles rose thorns, reminds people of our pathetic self-defense. The artist’s visualization does not end here. He even takes up a radical way of presenting studio photos, by completely deserting the virtue of the candid camera. Through his artwork, he asks not the actors, but the general public to express their subjective world to the extreme, even disregarding the life of the models, who appear in photos. This shows the artist’s confidence in his interpretation of this world.

Read here Defensive Measure #1 
All photos © Son Jong-jun | Art Smart Seoul

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About the Author /

Youngyee Kim is an editorial board member of the magazine Gulmaru Korea, promoting Korean culture and heritage expressed in various forms in art, architecture, crafts, and performances. She is also a founding member of Art Smart Seoul and a member of the French Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry, where her specialty is introducing young, talented Korean artists to the international community.

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