Keane on Korean Art

Particularly eager fans of musical beat combo, Keane, will know that their third album, Perfect Symmetry, is out today. But on opening the album packaging, the band’s three members don’t appear quite as normal in the photography within…

Tom Chaplin by Osang Gwon

Particularly eager fans of musical beat combo, Keane, will know that their third album, Perfect Symmetry, is out today. But on opening the album packaging, the band’s three members don’t appear quite as normal in the photography within…

Keane album artwork 5
Keane album artwork 2
Keane album artwork 8
Keane album artwork 3
Keane album artwork 4

“Keane chose to work with Korean artist, Osang Gwon,” explains designer and art director Rob Chenery of design studio Tourist which art directed the new Keane album and album campaign. Osang Gwon has made a name for himself by creating figurative sculptures covered completely in hundreds and hundreds of photographs of his subject to create an effect seen in the above images of the three members of Keane.

“The band members were photographed first by Osang in the UK,” explains Chenery of the sculpture-making process. “The lifesize artworks were then created by Osang back in his studio in Seoul and took about 6 weeks to produce.”

Chenery and photographer Shamil Tanna flew out to Seoul to art direct a shoot of the Keane sculptures and it is these (shown above) that appear throughought the album artwork.

Both Chenery and Gwon have provided CR with some behind the scenes shots of the process to show here on our blog and we caught up with Gwon to ask him about his work on the project

Osang's shoot 3
Osang's shoot 2
Osang's shoot 5
Osang's shoot 4
work in progress 1

work in progress 2
work in progress 3

Creative Review: Tell us about your style of working – the materials, the processes, the concept… how long have you been working in this way?
Osang Gwon: I created this style of working in 1998 when I was studying at university. Ten years have passed since Deodorant Type (the name I’ve given this type of work) was introduced. The photography sculpture is made of pink form cut into shape, attaching photos on it and then being coated. The content of work embraces influences mainly from the ancient art to modern visual images of advertisements or from magazines. I’m very interested in how to exchange these influences. Above all, I’m interested in making images that are plausible in modern art.

CR: Creating the pieces for the Keane album artwork – you created an artwork of each band member… How long did you need to spend with each of them?
OG: Idea meeting started in June, and then the actual shoot with the three Keane members took place in July over five days in London. It was a quite pleasant and fun experience for me. After that, in August, I worked with designer and photograph team of London in Seoul.

CR: How many photographs did you take?
OG: I think I photographed about 1000 to 3000 pieces per band member.

CR: How long does it take, approximately, to create each of your artworks? What are you working on at the moment?
OG: In general, it takes approximately two months per artwork. In the case of the Keane project, there was limited time, so we had to work all day and night in my studio! Now, I’m preparing solo exhibition in Arario Gallery of Seoul and New York for next year, I focus on The Sculpture series rather than Deodorant Type. These works are sculptures made of paper clay in a very academic method, and I’m making a torso of motorbike, because, in my opinion, design of industrial products is closely related to the human body.

Keane album cover

The album cover and logo for Keane’s ‘Perfect Symmetry’ is based upon design concepts from the 1920’s German Bauhaus movement which the band fell in love with when recording their album in Berlin, according to Chenery of Tourist. “A simple combination of triangles forms a striking, abstract pattern made up from crops of the photography of Osang Gwan’s extraordinary sculputres of the three band members,” he explains.

Perfect Symmetry is released today on Island Records

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