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Deep Valley

2022. 3. 3. – 5. 27
Rhee Joohyeong

In terms of external appearance, a series of valleys that show the shapes of the landscapes are usually divided into the ground at the bottom of the screen and the sky at the top of the screen using ridges and notice lines as boundaries. Here, the forms corresponding to the artist’s trademark sometimes are on the ground, sometimes wandering in the sky or on the border. The ground is usually revealing bare skin that has been dug up, which is probably an expression of the artist’s body rather than faithfully reflecting the real topography, It may be thought that he painted the traces of the body and the memories of the body about the place.

A view of the sand dunes 6, Oil on canvas, 162X112, 2016-2022

How is that possible? Here, the concept of cosmic flesh by Merleau-Ponty may be helpful. The subject and the object are covered with cosmic flesh and cannot be separated from each other. Regardless of the subject’s consciousness, the subject is already a part of the object. Thus, if there is no object, there is no subject. As such, the object has already determined the subject as a part of it. Even though I am not there now, my body (traces of the body, memories of the body) became the flesh of the landscape and was still preserved there. Therefore, the act of visiting there now is to reunite with me, which is part of the landscape. Or even this is not irrelevant to these facts (or perhaps self-consciousness), but it would be good to regard the landscape itself, which is revealing bare skin that has been dug up, as a projection of the artist’s desolate mind on the landscape.

A view of the sand dunes 5, Oil on canvas, 117X91, 2016-2022

On the ground, an atypical shape, which looks like a dot or a small rod, is patterned, which is reminiscent of rods planted in the field to set up awning screens and to set ropes. These things remind us of a part of the actual landscape like this, but at the same time or rather, but they may represent traces of the artist or a kind of mental image entangled in it.

And what interests us in the artist’s paintings is that there are especially a lot of swamps, wetlands, and dunes (A view of the sand dunes, everything ends in the desert). And there are even valleys. The artist wants to show dry clarity in his life, but these things are far from such clarity. Both swamps and wetlands are places where the boundaries are unclear whether they are water or land. The sand dunes move with the blowing wind, is a variable, and unchanging dune. So there is no fixed form.

everything ends in the desert, Oil on canvas, 162X131, 2022

And, how about the valleys here? Gilles Deleuze’s “A Thousand Plateaus” consists of a thousand valleys. This consciousness has a corrugated structure in which the surface and the back are folded into a thousand folds. This is made by the unconsciousness as it is hidden in the surface consciousness and folds and is not even caught on the consciousness radar. Should this be called a shadow of consciousness interfering with consciousness, a trap of consciousness, a directional arc of consciousness (Merleau-Ponty)? Should this be called the shadow of consciousness interfering with consciousness, the trap of consciousness, the arc intentionnel of consciousness (Merleau-Ponty)? (Although this only makes it possible to become conscious, and only may result in the modification, anyway)

Should we say that this is the texture of life that the artist feels with his skin? In this way, the artist feels a sense of distance between the ideal and the real, and between the surface and the other side. Sometimes the artist realizes a life where the surface and the other side are turned upside down and mixed, the life on the border, the shadows of dual and multiple lives, and the pitfalls of an ambivalent and variable life. Perhaps there is a part that is also in line with the logic of the reserved situation in which the author’s alter ego is bound to be called by a vague name as the author’s alter ego seems to be still known or unknown and the artist’s alter ego is just like hair or hair tuft. The artist’s painting has its own identity and virtue in that it deals with reserved situational logic and deals with ontological conditions with a clear substance.

Kho, Chunghwan(art critic)

Gallery Bakyoung
37-9, Hoedong-gil, Paju-si, Gyeonggi-do, Korea
+82 31 955 4071

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