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Exhibition visit: Dae Hun Kwon — Chalna, at Rachmaninoff’s Smith/Arnatt

Untitled, 2012, polymer plaster, acrylic paint, linen on board, metal
Daehun Kwon: Untitled (2012). Polymer plaster, acrylic paint, linen on board, metal

When I entered the gallery from the busy street in Hackney I found another world where time just paused and all noise stopped. Several human figures were frozen still. The only warmth I could feel was from the sunlight coming through the opaque gallery windows. The rough, old, wooden floor added to the untouched and abandoned atmosphere. It was almost like a museum full of dead things.

Untitled, 2012, resin, acrylic paint, linen on board, metal
Daehn Kwon: Untitled (2012). Resin, acrylic paint, linen on board, metal

The artist captured a mundane, busy street scene and paused its movement. Nobody in the scene would have realized someone was watching that moment so carefully. Actually people might not even remember it. Kwon is an outsider in the busy street where the people’s images were captured but they did not really pay attention to the real moment. The passage of time was stopped by the artist and people and moment were watched and remembered. The captured images present ordinary moments when people are not thinking how they would be seen by others. Kwon invites viewers to see the very moment, chalna in Korean (also the title of the exhibition) which people normally do not notice and forget, such as the time spent waiting for a bus or answering a phone call. When viewers enter the gallery, they also become outsiders to the scene. Kwon’s exploration of layers of time somehow unlocked my tension and made me relax. I felt I did not have to speed up and follow others and realised that focusing on the present moment is valuable.

Daehun Kwon Untitled
(left) Untitled (2012). Resin, acrylic paint, linen on board, metal
(right) Untitled (2012). Polymer plaster, acrylic paint, linen on board, metal

The figures seemed odd and unfamiliar. The three dimensional sculptures looked like fragments of two dimensional photographs. Kwon painted the sculptures to look like flat images making them appear otherworldly. The figures were a lot smaller than real people and were placed low down, near the floor. Viewers had to kneel or bend down to see the figures. This action itself forces the viewer to pause and take part in the moment.

The exhibition continues until 14 July 2012


2 thoughts on “Exhibition visit: Dae Hun Kwon — Chalna, at Rachmaninoff’s Smith/Arnatt

  1. This is my kind of art I want to soak in. Thank you for your introduction, observation and description.

  2. A very artful description of the exhibit – thank you! The exhibit makes one contemplate how our lives could be seen from up above. But it also makes one wonder if it’s a commentary on how technology may play a role in isolating and causing us to lose ourselves in our 3-dimensional world environment, thus the levels of greyness of the people. One bloke is in his own world standing and looking down while listening to music, while the woman is touching a post box yet she is also in her own world looking at her mobilephone. The bloke who is picking up a letter is looking at the other bloke, which shows that he uses less technology (communicating via a written letter) and is somewhat aware of the environment around him. One additional piece of work of the exhibit is a baby looking upwards and with his/her right foot over what looks like a mobilephone and his/her left hand on top of a zeppelin-like airship, thus on his/her way to using technology. Thanks so much for your description – while the exhibit caught a moment in time – it also made me stop a moment in my own life to think.

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