October 4, 2023

[Executive Corner] How LG OLED Expands the Boundaries of Art

LG OLED, a groundbreaking innovation in the display industry, proudly boasts a legacy of leadership and expertise spanning over a decade.

As September graces Seoul with artistry, LG OLED takes the spotlight with unmatched picture quality and distinctive form factors, showcasing itself as the ultimate digital canvas with limitless potential.

Kate Oh, vice president of the Brand Communication Division at LG Home Entertainment, sits down near a window for an interviewPhoto credit: Esquire Korea

Color is at the forefront of understanding the attraction of LG OLED as an art medium. After a decade of pioneering LG OLED technology, we have received inquiries from numerous artists and creators keen to explore LG OLED’s capabilities and possibilities. In seeking to understand the underlying motivation behind these requests, we have come to recognize that ‘color’ is the most crucial factor that attracts them.

As an artist, presenting the precise hues and tones of an image is essential to perfecting an art piece, an ability that previous displays did not possess. Media artists have a profound sensitivity towards portraying colors. While working with LCD or LED screens, they struggled to achieve the exact hue they desired in their attempts to convey the color red despite the relentless effort to calibrate it to match their intended shade. Most notably, the challenge of reproducing a perfect black remained beyond the capabilities of these displays.

Visitors queued in front of a building’s entrance painted in red, waiting to view a special exhibitionAnish Kapoor’s ‘Wounds and Absent Objects II’(2022) displayed on LG SIGNATURE OLED R at Frieze Seoul 2022

LG OLED stands out for its impeccable black levels, a distinction that has garnered recognition from esteemed British-Indian artist, Anish Kapoor, who remarked on LG OLED’s capability of displaying perfect black. Anish Kapoor, famed for his fascination with the color black, holds exclusive rights to Vantablack, a light-absorbing material. It is noteworthy that he chose to partner with LG OLED, which stands out as the sole display technology capable of achieving perfect black, its self-lit nature allowing all pixels to turn off completely. In contrast, LCD TVs rely on backlighting which necessitates a white source, and therefore, even when attempting to display black, the displays may emit a faint, misty light.

Anish Kapoor is not the only artist impressed with LG OLED’s perfect black. In fact, color has been a critical element in several other notable collaborations. For example, Perfect Black played a pivotal role in our collaboration with Universal Everything. During the ‘Transfiguration’ exhibition in 2020, we received a unique request to make the exhibition space completely dark, a potentially insurmountable challenge for other displays. This is an achievement only made possible by OLED. The result was overwhelmingly impressive, creating the illusion of objects in the artwork moving towards the audience.

A wall-mounted LG OLED TV has been rotated 90 degrees to display an NFT sculpture created by LG Art Lab with Barry X Ball

With high-contrast picture quality, LG OLED also shows its versatility with exhibitions of 3D art. This is most evident in our remarkable collaboration with sculpture artist, Barry X Ball, where amazing experiences were created by changing the medium. Renowned as the Michelangelo of modern sculpture, Barry X Ball teamed up with LG OLED to craft an intricate, exquisitely detailed sculpture inspired by Polish-born Pope, John Paul II. LG OLED brought to this sculpture to life with stunning 3D video, featuring intricate details. Barry expressed a distinct and heightened sense of fascination when viewing this video, creating a unique encounter different from his experience with the physical artworks.

Through numerous collaborations and exhibitions with a variety of artists, LG OLED proves to be the ultimate canvas. We’ve come to recognize that our technology is uniquely capable of creating the ultimate canvas for art, and the most refined and elegant approach to manifest this is by exhibiting artists’ creations for consumers. It’s important to mention that artists were the first to recognize the possibilities offered by LG OLED. And, I’d like to highlight that our approach is true symbiosis where art relies on us, and we rely on art.

We anticipate that the expertise we’ve gathered from meeting the artists’ needs in our collaborations will eventually reshape the displays we use at home. Art will also change, and soon, paintings that artists are currently creating will be exhibited on OLED screens.

Visitors queued in front of a building’s entrance painted in red, waiting to view a special exhibition

LG OLED embraces the motto, “WE INSPIRE ART,” allowing artists to express their imagination and create a new kind of digital art. We’ve been feeling lucky to find great opportunities working with Frieze by chance. In 2021, during the preparation for the special exhibition ‘LUX: New Wave of Contemporary Art’ in London, Frieze was held simultaneously, and we secured a space to test our work, leading to a meeting with Simon Fox, Frieze’s CEO, where we expressed our interest in sponsorship. We thought Frieze’s progressive and inclusive ethos resonated as a perfect match for us, so when Simon discussed expansion into Asia, I suggested Seoul, resulting in a three-year partnership. Frieze’s commitment to artist collaboration aligns with our mission as creators of the world’s premier digital canvas.

Transmedia artist Stephanie Dinkins has a conversation with Bina48, an artificially intelligent humanoid robot, as part of her project, ‘Conversations with Bina48Stephanie Dinkins, Conversations with Bina 48:Fragments 7, 6, 5, 2, 2018 (Photo credit: LG Corp)

We have also sponsored artists through the LG Guggenheim Art and Technology Initiative award program. We have focused on selecting and supporting individuals who have harnessed technology to advance their art and we’ll go beyond mere art sponsorship. Stephanie Dinkins, a professor at Stony Brook University in New York, was the first recipient of the award for her artwork utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) to shed light on the distorted landscape of information shaped by AI.

LG continues to present inspiring art encounters, emphasizing the relationship of art and technology by fostering innovative artist collaborations and exhibitions. For more insight into partnerships formed in collaboration with the LG OLED ART project, stay tuned to LGOLEDART.com.

This story was edited from an editorial feature article published in Esquire Korea.

By Kate Oh, vice president of the Brand Communication Division at LG Home Entertainment Company

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