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.
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.
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