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Hur Hwang : Creation and Extinction

Hur Hwang

From September 6 to November 11, 2023, Wellside Gallery in Banpo will present “Creation and Extinction”, a solo exhibition by Hur Hwang (1946-). Opening a new chapter in the 40-year-long “Variable Consciousness” series, the exhibition reveals the latest works in the “Light of Consciousness” series, which showcase the artist’s painterly approach and exploration of the thought system of objects.

허황, 의식의 빛 10120M-3, 2010, Acrylic and Mixed media on canvas, 193.9x97cm

Hur Hwang engages in a process of painting, erasing, and re-painting on a canvas. Although the canvas may appear blank and white, it is the result of numerous actions. When combined with materials, the surface gains dimensionality and comes to life. The interplay of shadows and textures created by the three-dimensional layers within the painting, influenced by light, subtly contrasts with the fixed background, revealing the artist’s internal flow. This leads to a psychological transformation in the viewer, ultimately fostering a connection between the artist and the observer.

허황, 의식의 빛 1050M-2, 2010, Acrylic and Mixed media on canvas, 116.8×80.3cm

White predominates Hur Hwang’s artworks, representing not merely the color of the pigment, but also the hue of the artist’s psyche. Through the finely nuanced changes resulting from the repeated creation and erasure of countless traces, the artist symbolically embodies the concept of ‘psychological representation’ within the canvas. In the new work, color is used more actively than before, creating a new visual effect.

허황, 가변의식 22100F-4, 2022, Acrylic and Mixed media on canvas, 162×130.3cm

Hur Hwang employs a natural stone powder material called “seokso.” Depending on the time the seokso is soaked in water, it acquires viscosity, giving rise to various appearances in the circular forms seen in his works. The mixture of seokso is poured and spread on the canvas, dried, then layered with color and dried again in a repetitive process. This iterative technique leads to shifts in the colors and forms present in the artwork. Like ripples forming on calm water, the flow of seokso onto the canvas sometimes deviates from the artist’s expectations, as if the artist himself entrusts the destiny of the artwork to this natural flow.

“The three primary colors of color together make black, and the three primary colors of light together make colorless or white. Koreans have a strange feeling of white. I wonder if this is what our white looks like, like in a pristine moon jar. It’s just something we put out there.”

Born in 1946, Hur Hwang graduated from the Painting Department of Hongik University and obtained a master’s degree in Fine Arts from the university’s graduate school. Since introducing “Variable Conciousness” at the 1st “Independants” Exhibition in 1972, he participated in major domestic and international group exhibitions, including the 6th “Cagnes-sur-Mer International Painting Exhibition” in France in 1974 and the “Five Korean Artists – Five Shades of White” Exhibition at the Tokyo Gallery in 1975. Hur Hwang has continuously pursued monochrome painting with white as its core theme since the 1970s and is recognized as one of the leading figures in Korean monochrome art. He has served as the director of the Busan Museum of Art and the chairman of the Busan Biennale Organizing Committee. His works are held in the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul Museum of Art, and Busan Museum of Art, among others.

References : by Museum san, <‘Empty Fullness’ and by Yoon Jinseop

Wellside Gallery
4, Gomurae-Ro, 8 Gil, Seocho-Gu, Seoul, Korea