Kpop Artist Kai and His Black and White Aesthetic

As November 30th approaches, teaser pictures and videos have been released of South Korean boy group EXO member, and soloist, Kai for his first mini album, self titled KAI. Every teaser has their own aesthetic which all have connections to other things.

When Kai’s beautiful black and white teasers released, many people were stunned by Kai’s beauty. The way he was captured by Mok Jungwook is absolutely mesmerizing and breathtaking.

There is something about black and white that conveys a particular aesthetic, giving a photograph a whole new meaning. The tiniest details to lights and shadows artistically shows the beauty that is captured.

Black and white pictures allows us to focus in on the subject — their expression, form, and demeanor. It allows the audience to be more intimate with the subject, because nothing else is highlighted aside from them.

Why Black and White?

When looking at the underlining theme from this, black and white photographs allow the emotion to be captured and more focalized.

This photograph’s black and white filter, for example, gives the audience no choice but to focus on his eyes and the writing on his face. His eyes, in addition to the position of his hands, gives passivity. The writing “Mmmh” on his face in this photograph, which will be explained in more details, emphasizes this.

Black and white images illustrates a world that color cannot. The effectiveness of black and white filters pulls us in into wondering the mysteries of what the image entails.

Shades of Gray

In reality, things aren’t simply just black and white. In between those black and white shades, there is lots of gray areas. Black and white photographs are not simply black and white, they’re achromatic, allowing shades of grays to appear.

Kai’s body appears almost like a silhouette, only allowing a streak of gray over his face and body. The black emphasizes his body, his form. The gray allows us to focus on his expression. The achromatic images of Kai gives a more quiet approach to his album yet simultaneously still giving a strong voice.

More Theories From Fans

Before these photographs were released, fans had already formed brilliant theories, trying to figure out the concept. One fan intelligently notes that the title track “Mmmh”/”음” could be inspired by the yin and yang, particularly the feminine principle.

When the teasers released, another fan relates the photographs back to this theory.

This theory is quite clever. To add to these clever takes, as mention before, “Mmmh” is written on Kai’s face in black, following are the words “breathe out”. This all seems intentional. Yin, the feminine/moon principle, relates to darkness, femininity, passivity, and the earth. In these images of Kai, there is way more blacks and grays than there are whites. His demeanor and expression and the fact the images are taken in black and white gives a more quiet and passive approach to his album.

This is an interesting approach, because not many men are, or would like to be, depicted in a passive manner. Kai’s stage presence is always portrayed as masculine and is often sexualized for that stage presence he has. These teasers gives his album extra texture.

Another Side of Kai

Since Kai’s first mini album is a self titled piece, it cannot be help to feel that this album may be an album where Kai will show different sides of himself. If we look at Kai’s other teaser pictures, we can reference them as Kai in a different point in time. Or we can look at each teaser concept as a separate identity that is within Kai.

The album teasers seem all distant in ideas and themes. Many are wondering what his concept is, forming interesting theories. Before Kai’s first teaser released, Kai always said he wanted to show a different side of himself. Perhaps, this album will show that — different sides of Kai.

Kai’s black and white aesthetic possibly shows Kai in his passive yet strong persona, showing he can be both.

As we get closer to November 30th, it will be interesting to see what this all means. So far, Kai is giving us freshness with his teasers. As many other soloists has very strict concepts, Kai is exploring different ones within one album. It is anticipated that Kai’s songs will be as good as his teasers. Kai’s upcoming title track “음 (Mmmh)” will be an R&B Pop track with American producers Mike Daley and ChaCha Malone on the album. Mike Daley produced many fan favorites such as “Bad Dream”, “R U Ridin”, “Jekyll”, and “Day after Day”. Chacha Malone’s famous “I needa chacha beat boy” is heard in many songs he took part in, and he has worked with other well known artists like Jay Park, Red Velvet, Shinhwa, Kara, Dok2, Beenzino, Loco, and so on. Many fans are anticipating on his work with Kai.




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Whitney K.

Whitney K.

Just an Erigom with a pen

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