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Situated Senses: Gallery tour and talk at Hanmi Gallery

The interim exhibition at Hanmi Gallery has been extended by two weeks, giving time for a special event on 10 June and a closing party on 17 June. Note also the weekly curator’s talk on Wednesday evenings. Details follow:

20 May – 17 June 2011
Situated Senses 01 : Inclined Angles

Installations by Shan Hur (Left) and Soon-Hak Kwon (Right)
Installations by Shan Hur (Left) and Soon-Hak Kwon (Right)

1. Gallery Talk : Friday 10 June. 6PM. HANMI GALLERY
* Programme
18:00-18:25 : Exhibition tour, led by Jay Jungin Hwang, curator of the exhibition
18:30-19:20 : Gallery talk, with Soon-Hak Kwon and Shan Hur artists, Jay Jungin Hwang curator, and Heashin Kwak Director Hanmi Gallery. The talk is chaired Professor Matthew Cornford
19:20 : Drinks

* Note
Our chair Matthew Cornford is academic leader for the Fine Art programme at the University of Brighton. He has collaborated as an artist with David Cross since graduating from the Royal College of Art, London in 1991. Since then Cornford & Cross have created a body of work that responds to the problems that arise out of particular contexts or situations. Accordingly, each of their projects has been radically different, not only in form but in content.

2. Curator’s Talk : Every Wednesday (1 June, 8 June and 15 June) 5PM. HANMI GALLERY

3. Exhibition Closing Party : Friday 17 June. 6PM. HANMI GALLERY

Exhibition Dates : 20 May – 05 June 2011 Extended Until 17 June 2011
Opening Hours : Monday – Friday 10AM-6PM, Saturday – Sunday 11AM – 6PM
Curated by Jay Jungin Hwang (Independent Curator)

Soon-hak Kwon's work being installed at Hanmi Gallery
Soon-hak Kwon’s work being installed at Hanmi Gallery

Soon-Hak Kwon
The moment of transcendence

Soon-Hak Kwon deals with the history of specific spaces, in particular a gallery space which carries a narrative meaning of site-specificity and shows the interrelationship between the space and the sense of distance originating from the psychology of visual experience, ‘Isakower phenomenon’. It is a type of hypnagogic states which an individual experiences perceptions of enlargement or thickening, altered states of consciousness, sensations of floating and other similar states. Based on his personal psychological experience, Kwon has created two double-layered spaces by installing hyper-real photographic images of the space.

Wonderwall is a penetrating observation about the space during the preparation of the exhibition. It is closely related to the past and the future of the space. With regard to the concept of the works, he developed the idea based on the contextualisation of the past (as a design office in the 1980s) and the future uses (as a gallery space in 2012) of the space and produced coexisting states of different time period in the same place. The actuality of the situation of the space is portrayed by a high resolution photograph which helps the viewers understand the site-specificity of the work. Finding out indexical objects of the space, they might be able to compare their sight with the sight illustrated in the photographic image.

At a first glance, Wonderwall seems like it is taken from only one viewpoint. However, it is the outgrowth of the time and the effort of the artist himself. By taking pictures of every nook and corner of the space and editing them, hundreds of images were used make his final high resolution photographs of the space. When he took the pictures, he scanned the space through the lens. The method he used to the space recollects of cubism hence the multi-veiwpoints within one particular image. The difference between Kwon and cubists is the way they collage the images collected from different angles. Kwon stitches digital images together on photoshop so the image gives an illusion that it was taken from one angle. He attempts to trick viewer’s eyes within the actual space and as a result, the audience can have a visual experience of the space beyond the visionary range of human sight. This moment of transcendence experienced by visual perception is an essential factor in his photographs.

To particularise the space on the first floor, Kwon twisted the angle of the space by installing floating walls. These floating images of walls are consisted of different pieces of his works of History of series: including History of Tenderpixel (2011), History of Gulbenkian Gallery (2010), History of Gulbenkian Gallery II (2011) and History of Hockney Gallery (2010). History of series are photographs which illustrate high-resolution images of the gallery walls hidden behind artworks. These works make the space seem double layered as if two different spaces are coexisting in the same space. The audiences are surrounded by images of walls, which are surrounded by the real wall standing in the space. Moving back and forth, the audiences recognise the form of the space. This spatial relation with the audiences is reminiscent of Robert Morris’ concise statement on the relationship between art and its situation within:

“In perceiving an object, one occupies a separate space – one’s own space. In perceiving architectural space, one’s own space is not separate, but coexistent with what is perceived. In the first case, one surrounds; in the second, one is surrounded. This has been an enduring polarity between sculpture and architectural experience.” – Robert Morris, ‘The Present Tense of Space’ (1978)

Kwon installed the images of walls as if they were torn off from the physical walls and created a space, which encounters with the audiences. This does not only include its physical meaning, but also socialised visual perception. Due to the nature of photograph, the audiences might perceive the surface of the wall as a work of art rather than the wall per se. This is the way in which he particularises and raises the status of a daily space to an aesthetical space, which refers to the moment of transcendence. In terms of site-specificity of the space, the historical meaning of the floating walls is connected to the future use of the space; an art gallery.

Jay Jungin Hwang (Independent Curator)

Shan Hur's work being installed at Hanmi Gallery
Shan Hur’s work being installed at Hanmi Gallery

Shan Hur
The emotional sensation evoked by situated spatial relations

Shan Hur is interested in the theme of the coexistence and collision of contradictory situations. To illustrate this, Hur uses materials at the construction site as a motive to effectively display contradicting concepts such as uniqueness buried in everyday life, noise in silence, strain in serenity, change in stagnation, strangeness in familiarity in spaces, imperfection hidden inside perfection, or stagnation and change. For the exhibition, Hur has created two unique situations in a void space through installations, titled Tilt and the arrangement of everyday objects.

Tilt is a huge installation, which embodies the site-specificity by deploying pre-existing construction materials and the structure of the space. To particularise the space, he has made a slightly slanted angle, about 35cm above the wooden floor and created a delicate space by building subtle distinctions on the unstable floor. The tension between flatness and tilt and equilibrium and unstableness has been maximized by making them look like they are going to tilt more and more and finally collapse at any time. Moreover cracks detached from the walls and a string of the balloon tied on the slanted floor act as indexical signs to inform people the degree of the inclined angle and the tension. This idea originated from his childhood, when he lost his balance and suddenly fell on the floor. At the time, he was disorientated and thought that the flat floor raised up to hit his head, not his head fell on the floor. Based on his physical and emotional experience, an inclined angle of the tilt was intentionally distorted, arousing a sense of strangeness and curiosity of the space and its situation.

On the third floor, Hur places unexpected objects, such as taped cardboard boxes, a replica of headstone and a timber, which are leaned against the wall and laid on the floor. At a first glance, they seem totally unrelated to each other. However, what they have in common is that they are all collected by the artist and the choice for the materials was based on his experience and the interpretation of the space. He has collected the objects during the preparation of the exhibition nearby gallery and named each of them. Each title of the objects reflects the context which he chose as a piece of artwork. i.e. Molehill made by accumulating carpets depicts an
action of digging the floor for his work Tilt. Works for next show consisted of taped boxes indicates the fact that the space will be transformed into the gallery space in the near future.

Regarding this kind of work, Victor Burgin, an artist and writer, explained the situational aesthetics of the placement of objects as follows;

“Some recent art, evolving through attention both to the conditions under which objects are perceived and to the processes by which aesthetic status is attributed to certain of these, has tended to take its essential form in message rather than in materials. (……) Aesthetic systems are designed, capable of generating objects, rather than individual object themselves. Two consequences of this work process are: the specific nature of any object formed is largely contingent upon the details of the situation for which it is designed; through attention to time, object formed are intentionally located partly in real, exterior, space and partly in psychological, interior, space.”- Victor Burgin, ‘Situational Aesthetics’ (1969)

This explanation seems persuasive as Shan Hur also places each object in a specific situation by purposely leaning them against the wall rather than hanging on the wall. The given names of the daily objects or ordinary materials become the clues or references to help the audience interpret the artwork based on their own imagination. As a result, each audience can come up with various explanations for possible situational context of each object.

What we need to pay attention to is the set context that occupies the space beyond the constructed forms. The artwork plays its role not only by having disguised physical situation, but by abstracting concepts appearing in the space and the tense atmosphere altogether.

The sensual impact in the situational settings are maximised by the designed architectural construction, and the scattered arrangement of objects that appear from slightly hidden behind the wall can be spotted when the viewers move around the work. As a result, a meaningless and empty space in ordinary life is instantly transformed into a narrative space that is filled with curiosity. From this context, the emotional sensation evoked by spatial tension, which is the overall theme of the artist’ work, is created by an organised situation occurring in the space.

Jay Jungin Hwang (Independent Curator)

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