Exhibition by Koo Yeon Mo
The Cynical Bear lets its cynicism towards the world we live in be seen. Cynicism towards the world we must live in. Perhaps thiscynicism is aimed at weaknesses in me. A device spurring on a desire to be stronger, more brave. Not to be naïve or silent, but to assertmyself.
The Cynical Bear is a simulacrum of who I am. The image of the bear references my nickname, and the T-shirt and jeans are typical choiceof clothing that always makes its mark on fashion. The cynical expression on the bear’s face reflects my own cynical view towards society.
The historical background of the Cynical Bear goes back to the 1970s. The ones born in the late 1960s and 1970s are known as“Generation X”. This term represented a generation of people who grew up to live and think differently from previous generations, andhave come of age as the world shifted into Anthropocene era.
Those born in the 1970s experienced the IMF crisis, the rise of individualism. They have seen authoritarian regimes come to powerthrough military coups and the post-ideological nature of more recent civilian governments. Some social problems typically seen amongthe children of the 70s include unemployment among young adults, a sharp growth in excessive consumption and conflicting regionalism.
Culturally, they have lived through the booming media industry, commodity fetishism and the desire for luxury goods, and the rise oftelecommunications technology. As students they also enjoyed a relatively free campus life with sporadic student demonstrations.
So this Generation X grew up to both lead social change and experience the lethargy which comes with prolonged unemployment. In arapidly changing society, they had to overcome social problems without the experience of previous generations.
To go with this historical background, the Cynical Bear is envisioned as a bad boy character which is somewhat cynical, sarcastic, timid,and perhaps with a tendency to whine.
The Cynical Bear links the past and the present through combining imagery from the media and the bear itself. Currently, several CynicalBear series such as the "Child Soldier” series, "Hero" series, and "Happy Bombs" series are available, and the Cynical Bear will continueseeking participation in the arts for as a device for societal change.