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Low Glide

CHA Hyeonwook

Installation view_CHA Hyeonwook_Low Glide_ARARIO GALLERY SEOUL

ARARIO GALLERY SEOUL presents CHA Hyeonwook’s (b. 1987) solo exhibition, entitled Low Glide, from 1 May (Wed) to 22 June (Sat), 2024. CHA Hyeonwook (b. 1987) expresses nature and human figures that reside in his imagination and heart through dreamy yet tranquil landscapes. His work is characterized by a mixture of tradition and modernity. While he bases his work on the form and materials of Korean painting, his painting technique does not fully adhere to the traditional method of color painting. He creates layers of color on a textured surface by applying pressure to ‘hanji’ (traditional Korean paper) and adding dimensionality, using his own adapted method of painting to depict the subjects and landscapes he wishes to express. His solo exhibition Low Glide, held at ARARIO GALLERY SEOUL’s fourth floor space showcases a total of 17 new paintings by CHA. The exhibition vividly showcases a newly constructed landscape, where reality and the artist’s imagination converge, and narratives from the past and present intersect.

Installation view_CHA Hyeonwook_Low Glide_ARARIO GALLERY SEOUL

The theme of the exhibition ‘low glide’ represents CHA’s artistic approach towards his work of ‘drawing’ and the characteristics of his current techniques. It evokes the imagery of flying low over a vast forest, brushing closely with the landscape, reminiscent of the artist’s life struggles and his journey to overcome frustrations. Moreover, it serves as a metaphor for his unique technique of layering dry brush strokes on ‘hanji’ and creating line-like impressions by applying pressure, which are techniques that prevent moisture from deeply penetrating. CHA applies this technique of dry, short brushstrokes, similar to his use of ink, to coloring. He uses ‘anchae’, a watercolor made by mixing Korean painting pigments with glue and natural starch, and ‘hobun’, made from natural lime such as seashell, all while employing elements of line derived from traditional Korean landscape painting. Simultaneously, CHA adopts a Western painting attitude in the spontaneous combination and placement of colors and subjects, and variation in techniques. These characteristics play a crucial role in allowing CHA to break the boundaries between traditional Korean and Western landscape painting, thus establishing his unique artistic oeuvre.

저공 비행(Low Glide), 2024, 한지에 안채, 호분(Powdered color pigment on hanji), 170 × 142 cm

CHA Hyeonwook’s artistic realm explores memory as a key theme, connecting the present and the future in a unique manner. His works are born from the process of gathering both direct and indirect memories from personal experiences and recreating them in artistic form. Within this creative process, CHA constantly interacts with the surrounding world, constructing a personal timeline formed through these relationships. His works reveal a creative approach that assigns new value to ordinary objects or concepts, unlike traditional collectors, combining these fragments of memory to create new subjects and scenes. Trees and clouds, frequently appearing in CHA’s works, are important elements that symbolize memories and emotions, expressing the artist’s exploration of self as a stranger, shaped by his memories from moving across various regions. In this journey, he contemplates his identity amidst the ever-changing society, as fragments of memories combine and transform over time, creating new realities and futures. The willow tree in his works metaphorically represents memories of his homeland, while the newly introduced juniper represents the awkward and alien, the expression of another stranger who has migrated to a foreign land. Symbols derived from nature such as the ‘day moon’ found at the boundary of day and night, and the abundant yet ephemeral clouds frequently seen in the scenes, are crucial elements that construct the boundaries of time and the dreamlike landscapes of his work. CHA blurs the boundaries between reality and future, fact and fiction, in his unique way amidst the constant change and flow of time.

85 Yulgok-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul, Korea 03058