OLED, the Future of Art Display
Kim Chan-yong / Docent for major Korean exhibitions including Alberto Giacometti, Le Corbusier, Mark Rothko, Alessandro Mendini, and Paul Gauguin
Vincent van Gogh, a failed artist who only sold one painting during his lifetime, is now the most popular artist in the world. Every year, people flock to France, Holland, and the United States to view his works in person. One of the most striking and appealing mecca for van Gogh’s fans is probably the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. However, not all of his fans have the opportunity to visit this museum to enjoy the exhibit. For van Gogh lovers to fully appreciate his works, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam created the “Meet Vincent van Gogh” exhibition currently being held at Woojung Art Center in Seoul. With replicas printed using advanced 3D printing technology, this exhibition is designed to allow visitors to appreciate the works more intensely by touching and experiencing them interactively. There are also spaces that make it possible to search for information and view documentaries to learn more about van Gogh, providing more than enough to satisfy the curiosities of the audience. The most impressive display is the “Loving Gogh” room. This room is a modern reinterpretation of van Gogh’s room where visitors can relax as they enjoy his works. This yellow house in Arles is where he produced over 200 works of art in a short period of 14 months. This is probably the space that best represents the heyday of his career. The “Meet Vincent van Gogh”organizers created this “Loving Gogh” room using OLED for a perfect representation of the colors, speed, texture, and depth that van Gogh used in his prime.
The visual arts is ultimately a field that deals with what we see. Each artist transfers his perspective of the world onto the canvas in intense ways to convey the image to us. Created through such a process, the great paintings by van Gogh inspire and entertain us visually. This kind of experience is what makes us visit museums. OLED is a medium that meticulously satisfies the visual desire to enjoy beautiful things. At “Meeting Vincent van Gogh”, you can truly appreciate the appeal of OLED. Throughout all of art history, van Gogh is the artist who was the most talented at expressing the colors and textures of oil painting. The color and depth as expressed by OLED allow us to fully relish these elements of van Gogh’s paintings. But how does OLED perfectly capture van Gogh’s art?
Black is at the core of the answer to this question. I’ve been a docent in the fine arts field for over a decade. For ten years, I’ve always maintained my black suit attire. It’s not something requested or demanded by anyone, but my personal fashion statement chosen with conviction. The reason why I insist on wearing only black at work is simple. It allows the artwork to stand out. Docents are in charge of introducing artworks at exhibitions, and as mentioned above, art is a field of visuality. Imagine a docent is wearing something even more stimulating than the art they are introducing or wearing something reflective that distracts from the art. The audience’s level of concentration will drop, and the focus will be on the docent, not on the artwork. In an effort not to distract the audience from enjoying the art, I try to exist just as audio while conveying the visual appeal of the art by wearing only black. In fact, intense black positions itself as the darkness that encourages the nearby colors to shine more brightly. This has been proven throughout art history. Just as artists during the Renaissance brought the photographic world on to the canvas using the mathematical theory of perspective, the Baroque master Caravaggio proved that intense black that maximizes color contrast would emphasize the subject and the color, creating an even more powerful sense of presence. OLED TV directly applies this visual concept. It captures the ultimate black that isn’t obtainable with existing LCDs.
Existing LCD screens create color using shutter technology while the backlight is on, which allows light to penetrate the shutter even when portraying black with the shutter turned off. However, OLED doesn’t require a backlight and each individual pixel illuminates itself, which allows for perfect black without any trace of light. In other words, while the darkness displayed by LCD is similar to black paper covering a light bulb, OLED turns off the light bulb altogether. It may seem like a small difference, but closing your eyes in a bright room and closing your eyes in a completely dark room are two different experiences. By intensifying the level of black, this self-illuminating technology emphasizes the colors of other nearby pixels that are emitting light. This technology allows you to enjoy a clearer picture when viewing the screen from any angle. We also need to understand that art museums are spaces that bring out the aesthetic of each item that is on display. At 2.57mm in width and 7.6kg in weight, OLED has amazing efficiency that completely assimilates to the exhibition space and is attracting the attention of museums and exhibition curators. And this remarkable technology isn’t just exclusive to museums.
Contemporary art is also changing rapidly with cutting-edge technology. David Hockney, deemed the greatest contemporary artist, is showcasing new forms of art, including photography, computer graphics, tablet devices, and 3D printing. Not only Hockney, but many modern artists today no longer insist on using a canvas and venture into various media as they strive to find ways that present more advanced artistic visual experiences to the audience. Back in the day, we had to purchase art or visit museums in person to enjoy these paintings and experience the outcome of their artistic contemplation. In the new era, we can now view our favorite artworks in more vivid detail by hanging OLED on the wall at home.
Contemporary art dreams of the popularization of art itself, rejecting elitist consumption and allowing everyone to enjoy indiscriminately. This concept may once have been limited to 21st-century art, but now Koreans can view van Gogh’s 19th-century art without visiting the Netherlands, right here at “Meet Vincent van Gogh” in Korea. Without spending millions of dollars on van Gogh’s art, his works can be displayed in vivid colors through OLED in the comfort of our homes. Perhaps this OLED technology has advanced the artists’ dream of popularizing art. As someone who majored in western painting and has been discussing the visual art field for a long time, I greatly anticipate the future that OLED will unfold in front of us.