Photography: Ceasing to breathe

Seulki Ryu, Ceasing to breathe, 2014, 80x100cm, Polaroid

In The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, Walter Benjamin throws doubt on the authenticity of artworks, suggesting that their aura has disappeared since the invention of photography and the ability to reproduce them technically. Meanwhile, in The sublime and the beautiful, Immanuel Kant claims that the sublime not only overwhelms humans physically – making them kneel down – but also provides ecstasy, which is the exclusive value of paintings in the art world until now.

In this regard, Seulki asks if photography, as a medium of art, can emanate the aura by using the scanner, which maximised the reproduction of photography and challenged the sublime, the authority of painting. However, she uses the format of the Polaroid to make audiences reconsider whether the artwork is only a photo.

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