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Gam Seongbin < Warmth >

2022. 6. 30 – 7. 17
Gam Seongbin

Until One Is Able to Gaze Still at the Sorrow that Came One Day :
A Moment of Consolation through Pictorial Sculpture

Kim Jeongwon (Curator/Gallery MAC)

Figures hugging someone with their heads down, as if they have fallen into the abyss of despair; a huge stone weighing down the naked human body; a throng of stark-naked humans without any protection, and an endless drift into a quagmire of unknown depth; two hands that are utterly dried like the bark of an old tree and the face wrapped in those hands; the eyes that lost focus and the empty expression in the face; nevertheless, leaning on each other as a support, and hugging each other warmly. . . These are the images we have come across in Gam Seongbin’s works.

Gam Seongbin, who works both in sculpture and painting, works based on sadness and melancholy derived from his personal experience, providing many viewers with moments of sympathy and consolation. Gam Seongbin, born in 1983, majored in sculpture at the China Central Academy of Fine Arts, and was emerging as a young artist in the spotlight. One day, he heard the death of his close family member and returned to Korea. It was a turning point in his career as an artist. Most of the early works of the artist, who started his career in his hometown Changwon, are portraits of people with grievous and heartrending expressions beyond simple sadness. His works of the period must have been the accumulation of the time he had to forget the pain and sorrow he faced. The sculptural figures completed by the artist steeped in grief were people in the abyss of sadness that reflected the state the artist was in at that time. His painting work is also an extension of the story told through his sculpture. The frame surrounding the canvas is a relief work in itself, in which three-dimensional human figures are carved on a flat wooden frame. The figures depicted on the canvas reveal grief and the moment of tragedy with only their facial expressions, or such emotions are represented through the gestures of the figures sitting on the floor with their heads down and covering their faces with both hands. The silhouettes of the figures who bear the heavy burden of life on their shoulders, grievously express the destiny and suffering of human beings who have reached the bottom of life and yet have no choice but to live. At the same time, they naturally elicit feelings of sadness that lie deep within a human being. Immediately after the loss of his family, he was trying to calm his lonely and anxious heart through his work. At that moment, sculpture similar to painting caught his eye as a material to render the feeling of warmth. He said that he felt the warmth in putting colors on a white sculpture, as if he were wearing clothes on his bare skin. Since it was not possible to achieve the sculptural image that the artist wanted and desired by simply painting with colors, it must have taken time to immerse himself in painting and color.

His recent works show that despite all that, ‘life’ is to live; although the story starts from ‘death’, in the end ‘death’ and ‘life’ are inseparable; in other words, where there is ‘death’, there is also ‘life’ alongside it. Gam Seongbin’s recent works are voluminous compared to his previous works, and reveal the figures of couples or families who lean on each other and embrace each other. Using each other as a support, they face each other or hug each other tightly to share the warmth of their body. In addition to the morphological aspects of the work, the warm gaze of the artist toward his surroundings, compassion, and solidarity can be read from the titles of works such as Family, Consolation, Hug, and Warmth. ‘Consolation’ can be shared when one can look at oneself and others with an objective eye. For a person trapped in suffering, it will be luxury to even send a word of comfort or a warm gaze to oneself or to others. When you realize that you are not alone in your personal sorrow, and when you start seeing your neighbors who are going through similar sorrows and despair, you may be able to relieve some of your loneliness and pain. The comfort of the heart that comes from a sense of solidarity becomes ‘warmth’ and reaches out to others. The works of Gam Seongbin speak to us: “You must have gone through the same times as I did.“

Gallery MAC
2F, 162 Dalmaji-gil117beonna-gil, Haeundae-gu, Busan, 48115, Korea
+82 51 722 2201

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