I saw the work of Kim Dong Yoo, celebrated South Korean artist, at an international art fair in London. He creates Korean contemporary art which is a wider reflection of society. He has a technique which is an interesting mix of pointillism and pop art wherein he creates portraits which are created from pixelated images of another person. I say pixelated just to refer to the rigid and geometric form – to be clear each of the individual portraits within the main portrait are hand-painted. From afar they look like one portrait and the detailed secondary images are only clear on close inspection.
The pairings of the portraits are ambiguous, controversial or otherwise related. The photos below show the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II made up of tiny images of her daughter-in-law, Diana, Princess of Wales. The alternate portrait of Diana, Princess of Wales is comprised of miniature portraits of the Queen. These two women were related both through their marriage and their impact on the future of the British Royal Family.
Kim Dong Yoo clearly has a fascination with that icon of American sexuality, Marilyn Monroe. He has used her in several portraits including Albert Einstein vs Marilyn Monroe, Chairman Mao vs Marilyn Monroe and Marilyn Monroe vs John F. Kennedy. The artist has created other unique portrait combinations include James Dean vs Liz Taylor, Michael Jackson vs Madonna and Audrey Hepburn vs Gregory Peck. His portrait pairings are as interesting as the portraits themselves.
Kim Dong Yoo is very popular in Asia and is increasingly becoming globally-recognised. His work is exhibited in various museums in Seoul, Korea.