A new artist for Pontone Gallery, alongside a well established one:
Lee Jaehyo + Kim Bumsu
12 April – 5 May 2019
Pontone Gallery | 43 Cadogan Gardens | London SW3 2TB | +44 20 7730 8777 | pontonegallery.art
Monday – Saturday 10-6pm | Sunday by appointment
Kim Bumsu: Sacred Cinema
Pontone Gallery is proud to present, for the first time in the UK, an exhibition by South Korean artist Kim Bumsu. Trained in his homeland and the United States, Kim’s work has been extensively shown in the Far East and Europe. This is an exclusive opportunity to experience his idiosyncratic and intriguing mixedmedia constructions.
The artist makes wall-mounted ‘light boxes’, fabricated from acrylic sheet, exposed film stock and LED lighting. Strips of old and discarded film are cut up and arranged to create large, complex collages, which are backlit by the LEDs within the boxes. Multi-coloured, pixellated patterns, reminiscent of mandalas and sacred geometries, create a glowing, kaleidoscopic effect. It is only on closer inspection that the nature of the source material is revealed. The viewer discovers a plethora of tiny and intriguing images, some recognisable, others less so.
The cutting and pasting process, intrinsic to making the collages, corresponds with that of the film editor, who assembles fragments of information to make a coherent whole. Kim Bumsu’s compositions assimilate the disparate nature of their components and unite them into something new. The artist salvages and re-purposes that which is lost or unwanted. Kim explains this as an act of ‘romanticism’ that ‘arouses compassion’. Wishing to rescue what has been abandoned, his fractured re-making of lost narratives reminds us of the pre-digital, analogue age and its particularly tangible pleasures.
The format of this work brings to mind altarpieces, the sacred displays of temples and the iconography of cathedrals. It also elicits a ‘bright and shiny’, secular appeal, akin to the seductive displays of the luxury shopping outlet. The work oscillates between the sacred and profane, referencing the rich sensory experience of immersive cinema, the adrenal rush of consumerism and the awe of the spiritual.
Lee Jaehyo: The Spirit in the Material
Pontone Gallery presents new work by the distinguished Korean sculptor, Lee Jaehyo. This prize-winning artist’s work features in many prestigious private and museum collections. He brings his craftsmanship to bear on the matter of the forest and the forge to conjure sensuous monumental objects.
Lee Jaehyo creates from wood and metal. To transform his raw material he employs time-honoured, traditional skills of chopping, sawing, carving, sanding and polishing. He uses fire and a furnace as an integral part of making his metal ‘nail’ pieces. His is a time-consuming, physically demanding process. The heroic manipulation of recalcitrant raw material is an almost defiant assertion, which resists the ease of modern, technological reproduction such as three-dimensional printing. The elegance of his work is hard-won.
The sculptures are biomorphic; their cell-like structures are organic and protean. Some have a ‘micro-macro’ effect: they could be a tiny organism magnified or a planet made small. Others reference everyday, domestic archetypes: vases, tables and chairs. Curve and contour are expressed. Textures are smooth, silky and invite touch. Reliefs are made from wood studded with nails, which are burnt and then burnished. The nails, like tadpoles, or spermatozoa, create silvery, rhythmic drifts and washes across blackened, charred surfaces. The artist’s various treatments serve to emphasise and enhance the inherent beauty of his carefully chosen material.
These pieces bring the values of landscape into the interior arena. Suggestive of the ‘outside’, they have an animistic power, which belies and underpins their poised and refined appearance. These are ‘totemic’ objects, focuses for contemplation and meditation. To experience them is to connect to their elemental, earthly nature. Lee Jaehyo, by his single-minded and devotional action, reveals the spirit in the material.