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YoonHyup: Nocturne City


A Knight_s Perspective, 2023, Acrylic on canvas, 200.6 x 160 cm, ⓒYoon Hyup

Nocturne City: The Melodic Aesthetics of Lines and Dots

LOTTE Museum of Art is proud to present Nocturne City, the solo exhibition by Yoon Hyup (b. 1982), a dynamic artist who has cultivated an incomparable style highlighted by his kaleidoscopic visual depictions of cities. Featuring around 230 of the artist’s amazingly diverse and creative expressions of cities, including large paintings, sculptures, videos, photographs, and collaborative works, Nocturne City invites visitors to accompany Yoon Hyup on his deeply personal artistic explorations of different urban spaces. Literally drawing from his own personal experience, Yoon Hyup accumulates layers of visual forms inspired by our ever-changing and unfathomably diverse cities, conjuring a dazzling array of compelling narratives. Guided by his own instincts, he intuitively combines colored dots and lines into dramatically connotative compositions. With their rhythmic juxtaposition of elongated and abbreviated lines, complemented by a harmonious arrangement of colors, Yoon Hyup’s works evoke a distinct auditory experience for the audience, suggesting a new form of visual art for the twenty-first century.

Night In NewYork, 2023, 전시전경, ⓒYoon-Hyup

Starting in the late 1970s, the subcultures of punk rock, graffiti, hip-hop, and skateboarding, all of which emphasize personal freedom and rebellion against authority and convention, spread like wildfire among youth around the world. From a young age, Yoon Hyup immersed himself in this movement, eagerly embracing the “DIY” (“do it yourself”) spirit of punk, which called for people to rise up and resist, while developing a passion for skateboarding. Through this action sport, which became the sole pastime of his teenage years, he encountered a wide variety of new urban cultures and experiences, which not only influenced his artistic expression, but also allowed him to develop his skills and establish his credentials by designing skateboard decks and album covers, and participating in live painting sessions. But in 2010, Yoon Hyup left his comfort zone in Seoul and moved to New York City, plunging headlong into a new world of artistic challenges. His curiosity and constraints as a stranger enabled him to view the city in a new light, based strongly on his own internal perspective. In 2014, Yoon Hyup got his first big break when rag & bone, New York clothing brand, invited him to paint his mural Wishing for a Bright Sunny Day on the exterior wall of its shop in Manhattan. Since then, Yoon Hyup has steadily garnered increasing attention in the art world through various exhibitions, collaborations, and projects.

Juggler, 2021, PVC, ABS, PU, 19 x 25 x 24cm, ⓒYoon Hyup

This exhibition looks back at the first twenty years of Yoon Hyup’s career as an artist, from his formative series Caramel Boy (2003) and Birdoe (2003), representing the roots of his imaginative inspiration, to his recent paintings depicting cities with colored lines and dots. Featuring dozens of drawings, memos, cassette tapes, and skateboard decks that reveal the artist’s aesthetic evolution and philosophy, the exhibition also introduces Juggler, a character born from his paintings, as well as his recent Little Titan series, starring a newly developed character. Perhaps most notably, the exhibition marks the world debut of Yoon Hyup’s gigantic, sixteen-meter panoramic nightscape painting of the New York City skyline.

Beach of Laconcha, 2017, Acrylic on canvas, 46 x 61cm, ⓒYoon Hyup

Nocturne City is a silent conversation between the city and the artist, who adopts the exotic perspective of a stranger. With his spontaneous yet stylish visual articulations, Yoon Hyup conveys the arresting stillness of a city shrouded in darkness, resonating with a sense of peculiarity and tranquility. Expressed with the rhythmic glow of lights, the city at night is utterly unpredictable, yet offers a surprising solace that is not to be found in the cold metropolis of day. Even when our heart seems to have emptied into the inexpressible void, the warm gleam of the studded city lights reminds us that we are not alone. Through his mesmerizing nocturnes composed in the calm of night, when everything seems to stand still, Yoon Hyup unveils the true romance of the city.

LOTTE Museum of Art
LOTTE WORLD TOWER (7F), 300, Olympic-ro, Songpa-gu, Seoul