Puffy, shiny and full of illusions absorbed by the omnipresent drop of water Kim Tschang-Yeul during his career. The Korean artist who died earlier that yearwas faithful to the seemingly banal theme and, after his first painting in 1972, after moving to France, decided to depict the moist spheres repeatedly. Kim was originally inspired by a water-soaked canvas in his studio and cultivated the viscous element in his hyper-realistic paintings, which had been created over almost five decades. in the an essay Dr. Cleo Roberts:
This tendency seems to unite many of the Korean avant-garde adopted by Art Informel in the early 1960s, including Ha Chong-Hyun and Park Seo-Bo. In this generation of artists there is a ritual devotion to a chosen form, a process and sometimes a color. One might venture that in the context of living in a war-torn volatile country, the safety of immersion in a unique mode was an empowering choice and possibly could have been a necessary psychological counterpoint.
Regardless of whether it’s a single hanging drop or a canvas dotted with perfectly round lightbulbs, each of the oil-based works shows a skillful use of shadow and texture. The puffed up shapes seem to pearl on the surface and are permeated with a feeling of impermanence: if they are disturbed by a small movement, they look like they could burst or run across the surface.
The transparent renderings shimmer with occasional flecks of gold and white, promoting a deeper connection with Taoist principles. They also question the tension between nature and contemporary life. “Painting drops of water consists in dissolving all things [these]to return to a transparent state of “nothing,” said Kim in a statementand noticed that his desire was to dissolve the ego. “By bringing anger, fear, fear and everything else back into the ‘void’, we experience peace and contentment.”
When in London you can see the first posthumous show Waterdrop, which covers Kim’s entire career and shows many of the works shown here, below Almine Rech from March 4 to April 10, 2021. Otherwise, go to Artsy to see a larger collection of the artist’s paintings.
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