Amid all the hype of minimalism seen right here in Korea (which encompasses lifestyle philosophies to aesthetics presented in varying levels of commercialization), Todd Selby’s first solo exhibition opened at Daelim Museum. The show is appropriately titled The Selby House, as the exterior walls of the museum are covered with the artist’s illustrations while displayed inside is a re-creation of the artist’s very own bedroom. The self-proclaimed embracer of maximalism comes as a fresh contrast to the dominant trend that’s been sweeping the local scene for several years. The mammoth showcase of photographer, illustrator and creative journalist Todd Selby is, especially in this particular context, one that offers refreshing inspiration.
Selby mentioned: “Minimalism to me is quite boring. When I started shooting people and their spaces in the early 2000’s, that super-clean look was the dominant aesthetic. What I did was embracing maximalism and real life and messiness. It was a slap in the face to that whole thing.” The artist's unapologetically disruptive attitude is fully apparent in the first section of the exhibit, Selby the Photographer, in which ‘documentarian’ photographs portray people in their natural habitat—with whichever kind of lighting that was available and no props whatsoever. In a rather paradoxical manner however, this unique ‘Selby’ process questions how real a photograph can be, as the unconstructed images seem so professional and iconically Selby.
As you progress further into the exhibition, you will gradually be immersed in one of Selby’s personal philosophies: that creative expression is something we all are capable of. From the free-spirited illustrations and installations displayed on the third floor to the recreation of his personal living space in the section whimsically titled Selby the Neighbor, not only will you feel easily connected to the artist but also realize that the pieces become dreamier and less confined – as imperfections are so amicably apparent. The Jungle Room set up on the fourth floor is a good example, as you will be walking into an almost fantastical wonderland filled with flat (two-dimensional) illustrations of animals and plants which constantly offset your perspective. The whole exhibition can be summed up as a blissful whirlwind of hallucinogenic combinations of colors and childlike illustrations and pictures that are powerful enough to bring out your inner child, make you feel younger, more creative and full of life.