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Silence, Living Present

2023. 2. 7 – 3. 2
Yun HyongKeun, Choi Insu

Yun HyongKeun, Umber-blue, 1995, oil on linen, 227 x 181.1 cm

Our lives are born and become extinct in the course of time. Only the traces of being remain. Within the flow of birth and extinction, Yun HyongKeun’s painting and Choi Insu’s sculpture come to us as allusions of nature. Rather than indicating certain meaning, they resonate in the space where we stand, as shapes of existence, vestiges of becoming, and presence of silence.

Here, silence is not wordless silence. Yun’s paintings are silence in that they “have the power to diffuse words inward, so that this force envelops even the words.”
Nakahara Yusuke

When facing depth and density, words lose words and fall silent. The natural encounter of a painting with a dark plane, and a piece of wood left with memories of the hands, within a single exhibition space, is only possible because they both carry nature’s breath. In the way that land and trees are natural, Yun’s painting advances toward depth in utter silence like a land covering death and life, while Choi’s sculpture embraces the space that surrounds it, revealing narratives of matter as traces of the artist’s contemplation on the accumulated layers of time.
Essentially, both artists have intended to leave their textures and colors in the natural state. As they stare at their works for extended periods of time, their art becomes consistently restrained, as vestiges of work are added and subtracted, through non-doing.

Choi Insu, Becoming a Place-3, 2020, zelkova, 180 x 12 x 11 cm

“…I make a downward stroke, like a thick stick. But it is not made all at once. I must repeat this several times for it to gain density. Though the painting time is short, it takes time for the paint to dry, so I keep it for days or even months as I continue to observe and paint. Sometimes I take out a work from last year to paint over it.”
Yun HyongKeun

“…For many days I listen carefully to the stack of trees. As time passes, it seems as if the trees are observing me. The cut tree trunks show radial-shaped cracks on account of the centrifugal force acting within. Along those I cut the tree lengthwise, count the growth rings, saw it, and carve it with a chisel, while considering the wood’s state of dryness… This microscopic journey of sculpting the tree is a difficult process that requires significant time.”
Choi Insu

With the flow of time, Yun’s dark color-field gradually becomes simpler, and the colors also converge into dark black. Everything moves toward colors that come forward and return, and all sounds stop. Permeating and spreading effects are also restrained, as if in spiritual, ascetic practice. The black color fields painted on the gigantic picture-plane so that they overlap, and thus show different levels of concentration, evoke a sense of sublimity.
Choi Insu’s sculpture exists as light and shadow, vivid and fear amidst tranquility, creating room for quiet contemplation, as it seems to drift away and draw near at the same time.

Here, we hold our words within, and become the living present amidst silence.

Lee Jiyeon
(Translation: Kim Jeimin)


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