In the midst of life


The "In the Midst of Life" project consists of three parts. While all three parts fundamentally share the theme of affirming the meaning of life in a 'positive' sense, they exhibit slightly different approaches in content and style when expressing the subjects. The first part, "In the Midst of Life," does not differ significantly from the figurative paintings and methods used in previous works. However, it aims to intensify the expression of emotions felt through in-depth observations of the characters. The second part, "Greenish moment," and the third part, "Breath, Texture, Light," form a strong series characterized by a departure from traditional painting methods towards drawing and research. All three parts plan to equally emphasize the relationship between the preliminary work of 'drawing' and the subsequent 'painting,' based on it.
part 1
In the midst of life

When living through 'life,' there are moments that feel overwhelmingly burdensome and overwhelming to everyone. However, looking back, there are times when I realize that, no matter what problems I was struggling with or what I was running towards, 'life' was quietly protecting me from within. It could have been a gentle spring breeze, a stranger's kindness, or simply a small sense of reassurance that I am somehow continuing my daily life. Whether it's the touch of life, the vitality of existence, or the unseen flow, I'm not sure how to precisely express it, but even when swayed by events and circumstances, we are still in the midst of 'life.' And perhaps, as we observe the routines of others while reflecting on our own lives, we may find these moments easier to grasp and appreciate.
Based on these thoughts, the project is conceived to capture the lives of others existing within 'life' through the medium of painting. It observes the appearances of unfamiliar individuals encountered in daily life, expressing the vitality felt in their lives or the comprehensive energy surrounding their environments through the medium of painting. They may be common beings we frequently encounter in our daily lives or types often seen in specific places. Scenes primarily depicting their ordinary moments are observed, with the subjects unknowingly experiencing the ordinary moments passing by without feeling anything special. Through a third-person perspective, the aim is to portray their lives within tender and warm embraces, showcasing the affectionate and caring touch within the seemingly ordinary moments. This could be an artistic effort to align values such as 'love' and 'care' with painting actions, or an attempt to find the 'will' of life within the realm of art.

Breath, Texture, Light

"Breath, Texture, Light” is a grayscale painting series that focuses on the texture and tactile qualities of more personal subjects, guided by the belief that 'light' reveals 'Texture' and that understanding 'Texture' brings one closer to the 'breath' of the subject. This series portrays everyday organisms, objects, and landscapes, emphasizing the differences between 'light' and 'Texture,' and expressing them in a neutral gray tone. It explores how the subject's surface and textures change with different lighting conditions, transforming them into various painting textures. This exploration includes the study of factors like the canvas ground, brush pressure, and stroke speed. Ultimately, this research aims to poetically contemplate the 'breath' of various subjects encountered in everyday life.

Similar to the other series, this work begins with drawing on paper as a preliminary step, with noteworthy scenes further magnified and completed as large paintings. The common keywords that encompass the 'In the Middle of Life' project are 'perspective,' 'tactile sensation,' and 'breath.' Rather than setting predefined directions for the three series, the hope is that they will organically influence each other, leading to a rich and meaningful outcome. It is wished that such a result will warm and renew our attention to the life that exists 'In the Middle of Life' within all of us.

Greenish moment

"Greenish moment" is a project that delves into the various aspects and modes of existence of the color 'green' encountered in life, acknowledging the possibility that, while there is only one word for 'green,' there are billions of greens in the world. It aims to explore the artistic potential inherent in the color 'green,' which is commonly considered to embody the essence of life. Drawing inspiration from the word 'moment,' it is rooted in the performative act of daily drawing, serving as the foundation for the creation of a series of green paintings.

The paintings depict actions, colors, and modes of existence created by various green objects and organisms, infused with contemplation. The working method involves recording daily inspirations related to 'green' through drawing, much like writing a daily diary. The choice of drawing materials includes colored pencils, watercolors, oil pastels, acrylics, gouache, and other materials that can express the day's inspiration. Each of these drawings serves as both an individual work and a preliminary step for the main painting.

Unlike previous works that relied on concrete forms, green paintings focus on expressing the 'vitality' inherent in green, combining it with the artist's creative imagination.


Breath of the city


Just as various textures manifest in painting through the accumulation of paint and medium, I believe that 'space' also exhibits its unique 'texture' or 'essence' based on the accumulation of numerous elements inherent in human life.

In Korea, the relationship between space and human is an organic one, where neither holds dominance, and this relational characteristic naturally blends with the emotional essence of Korean life accumulated in history, creating a distinct essence. This essence, I believe, permeates every aspect of the process of Seoul's formation as a city and the life within it.

Based on these thoughts, 'Breath of the City' is a socially subjective landscape painting series that seeks to discover the 'emotional essence of Korean life' and the 'organic relationship between space and human' that permeates Seoul and embody it through the texture of painting. This work involves applying layers of paint to the canvas slowly and deliberately over time. It's a method devised to artistically manifest intangible elements into physical space through the concept of 'permeation.'

The thinly layered paint seeps into the previous layer, forming a solid stratum while ensuring that all textures are evenly distributed and uniformly absorbed. Through this process, the space within the canvas frame and the human become a single organism, breathing gently, and the holistic breath one feels when viewing the landscape is reinterpreted into the painterly texture and encapsulated on the canvas.


Police Place Presence


“The police officers in fluorescent uniforms are always in the square. Sometimes scattered, sometimes densely packed, they shimmer above the gray city. They patrol, encircle, and create space in the square. The fluorescent dots constantly alter the shape, texture, and feel of the space, as well as the sensation of the air. Depending on their mode of existence, the atmosphere in the square can become tense, loose, thick, or light. They are both subjects exercising power and objects subject to the dominance of power. They serve as observers and, at the same time, are observed subjects. They are human yet also part of the landscape.” from the artist's note

The area around Gwanghwamun Square is not only an important place that preserves the historical pulse of South Korea but also an intriguing space that gives the impression of having no specific owner. After gazing at the space for a long time, the police officers, who stay there the longest, emerged as significant subjects of observation on the screen.

The fluorescent uniforms of the police shine even more vividly in the grayish Seoul, and their distinct visibility, paradoxically, provides a fresh visual perspective that can freely transform the nature of the space. Depending on the intentions of the police, as well as the nuances with which they control and configure the space, the character of the space unfolds as a stage with countless possibilities for change.

Despite the vivid visual presence implying law enforcement authority, the police are lightweight and replaceable anonymous figures when viewed as individuals. Their existential attitude, dominating the space for a long time but not actively engaging in everyday life, is a characteristic unique to the figure of the police in urban space. Therefore, the color of the police uniforms in my paintings manifests with a level of intensity that blends into the space, absorbing and expressing a subtler atmosphere, allowing for a more profound function.

In my paintings, the fluorescent color of the police is subdued and absorbed, taking on a hue that permeates the space and transforms into a more nuanced function, acting as a mediator that brings poetic, metaphorical, and sometimes external situations into my artwork.


Land & Landscape


A square is a place that cannot exist independently. It draws people in by its emptiness and, through its void, holds the potential for endless connections and new possibilities. In a city, a square, depending on its location, size, and shape, as well as the actions of those who engage with it, can freely transform its inherent nature. Observing the spaces around the square that I encountered daily on my way to school led me to contemplate the essential qualities of a square, and I began visualizing it through my paintings.

A square gains its worth when it allows both the pre-existing 'Land,' which is there to attract something, and the ever-flowing 'Landscape' to coexist harmoniously without one dominating the other. If Land represents the historical layers of accumulated weight, then Landscape is the present lightness that temporarily drifts over the heavy Land. In my paintings, the heaviness symbolized by Land and the lightness represented by Landscape maintain a delicate balance, coexisting evenly with the same force. A square is a place where the ongoing historical weight striving to become heavier and the transient forces of people passing lightly over it coexist harmoniously, with none of them holding dominance.

On the canvas, all the elements that encompass Land and Landscape pile up with the same force, ultimately coexisting tightly as one solid entity. As the same breath evenly spreads the same force across the entire frame, a new place is constructed on the canvas.