Artist Profile - Baron & Ira - Seoul, South Korea
Updated: Sep 6, 2019
Baron & Ira are Experimental Multimedia Artists from South Korea. Their work spans digital art, animation, sculpture and music. Street Style Planet Earth caught up with the duo at their base in Seoul.
Baron and Ira met whilst studying in London. “The sound of the word United Kingdom gave me a feeling of medieval fantasy,” proclaims Baron. Dropping a hint at the fantastical genre defying approach the pair take.
Immersed in London’s Post “New Rave” underground dance, art and warehouse scene of the early part of the decade, they soon started to collaborate. Parties, performance art and a combined interest in the humorous side of the macabre and what Baron describes as “logical nonsense, sadly happy, pure hybrid and original fake”, led to numerous mixed media projects including the launch of Gashworld a T Shirt fashion collection.
“We wanted to throw an exhibition of our favourite images from London and thought just putting our work on the wall was boring. Gashworld clothing was a form of exhibition to us - using people's bodies as a canvas was interesting and fun.”
Sculpting electronics, computerisation and re-imagining the human form via an interactive process are areas often explored by the artists. Enticing the viewer to question their own beliefs, realities and thought patterns, “The Anatomy of Relationship” is a Robotic life size sculpture that communicates via several sound channels triggered through built in motion detectors.
“Let Me Smile” uses a Street Art narrative to explore the artists’ feelings and emotions. Although using a more traditional approach of marker pen and the street as a canvas, the work still draws in the viewer giving them space and time to analyse and question their own perception of sadness and happiness.
Always playful, sometimes frightful, occasionally mystical yet often paradoxical, Baron & Ira’s work hinges on posing cleverly veiled questions surrounding the human condition from artist to viewer and back again. The final element in the art often being the viewer’s own personal reaction and stimulation. Perhaps nowhere is this better seen than their free hand formed wire masks.
"It’s about me and my mistakes and the distortion between both" - Ira
Asked about projects close to their heart, Ira says, “There is no favourite but ‘Stay Still' really was really interesting. It was a theatre performance with an interactive video element triggered by the performer’s movement. We gave the performer no instructions, resulting in an organic collaborative concept. I was overwhelmed by the result.”
"Baron and I have talked a lot about projects since we met. Most ideas move on to the work section, sharing our feelings and talking about different parts and perspectives.
The interaction between the artists as set designers and conceptualisers collaborating with life models and allowing freeform “chance” and “mistakes” to run their cause to produce the final art can also be seen in their photographic project - ‘HELLP’. “This was done in my best condition of 'I don't give a single fuck. I just do what I like’” adds Baron, “my best model and best artists built me a perfect scene from my brain even without a sketch.”
We expect accidental output. We don't really have a fixed idea on an outcome. We experiment somewhere beyond our sanity, and we like that.
Since returning to Korea in 2015, after what Baron describes as “a life of full-time partying” in London, the Central Saint Martins’ gradate studied computer music for 5 years. “Perhaps my approach became a little more academic but it was a good opportunity to learn about using multimedia devices to add more spice to our work.”
Currently "drifting around with music, moving image, masks/costume, interactive, virtual reality, experimental stuff and installations,” Baron & Ira have tentative plans to transform the garage space under their new studio into an exhibition space for special pop up events. Keep an eye on their instagram accounts and Gash World website for further information and announcements.
See more below of Baron & Ira shot on location in Seoul, South Korea
Take a step into Baron & Ira's Seoul...
Bar Abyss in Naeja-Dong 내자동
Basically, I love to drink, and the bar is run by my old friend. The Abyss occupies a classic Korean mansion with 1920’s mood/style. Of course, the bartender does best cocktails.
Eljiro Area 을지로
This area is like a huge group of markets. From fabrics to mechanical parts, all sorts of materials can be found there.
나비도 꽃이었다 꽃을 떠나기 전에는 The butterfly was also a flower, before it leaves the flower) in Hongdae 홍대.
This bar has a great mood. Everyone sits on the flowers, lit by candles with the smoke of shisha in the air.
야식포차 (midnight snack pub) in Hee-Dong 연희동
Traditional and old style Korean cuisine. All dishes are scrumptious, the atmosphere is very early-modern looking concrete.
Grand Ole Opry in Itaewon
A bar in Hooker Hill, kind of an American style bar where a Korean granny makes your cocktail.
All photos by Al de Perez for Street Style Planet Earth
Shot on location at Oil Tank Culture Park & the artists studio, Seoul and London.
Words & Photos by Al de Perez
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