Search by

There are 2 figures appearing repeatedly in the work of Kang Seo-kyeong.  They are the woman shaped like a ballerina (Her other self is shaped like an Avatar) and the neckless marionette. They drift using the traces drawn and painted by her as the background, and move towards an unseen destination. The touch in drawing teems with sensational brush strokes, and the colorful liquid texture is unique.

The image and traces that furtively remind one of a landscape covered by mountains and valleys, trees and plants, clouds and thick fog help the viewer peer into the artists mind. At the same time, the imagery delivers a landscape that is perfectly familiar. The scenery contained nothing but color and brush strokes. There was an absence of concrete objects yet a vital energy was very present. The brush soaked in paint sometimes delivers an image while other times, it seems to flow by gravity in descending orbs. The colors’ elastic and attractive vividness project a materialistic yet sensitive visual effect.  Images cheerfully dance or wander on the plane of a single color. Then the image of man floats with them.

These puppets and marionettes that seemed to be on a drama stage are just a metaphor of the fate of ordinary mankind (or an existence of anonymity) who live in reality, or the artist’s other self, or the figures in the landscape that one meets in a traditional landscape. They aimlessly ramble and wander on the background scenery and traces. The images portray a certain type of travel entertaining desire and passion as well as a journey of repetitive life realized in a limited frame up to the time when life is reduced to ashes. Looking back, the small figures in nature displayed by the traditional landscape were always heading for certain places.  It may be a sort of utopia, or a space where the life of a wise man can be unloaded, or is a territory of another life located on the boundary bitterly adjoining the realistic life. Perhaps, Kang Seo-kyeong is mapping the territory of her own paradise or domains of freedom and daydream, onto her paintings.
The artist might desire to take a trip to somewhere or to meet the traces or glimpse of another life just as she was going on a picnic after reducing the weight or the gravity of a given realistic life even a little. The canvas is overlapped with several veils.  It is painted, covered and overlapped again. The canvas of many plies, layers and space flow out like illusions.  A static but dynamic image appears furtively, and the overlap of several plies presents multiple spaces of painting.
Shapes resembling clouds or speech balloons wander about inside the picture. Color is stained plumpily on the thin surface of a single color which is left blank, or a cloud appeared in the space spontaneously left by the stroking of a brush. The color flows down in the cloud-shaped image as though icicles are suspended. Just like snowing as though it is raining, or it is as though a cloud is heavily shedding tears. The moment the stroke/color drawn ex tempore and lightly flows down under the laws of gravity, there is a feeling of movement on the entire part of the canvas. It is like that the materials of color prove their own bodies and life, and that they represent the artist’s mind, spirit and the reitification of sentiment.  Here, cloud is something that roams about but cannot carry any fixed forms, and is an image composed of temporary and variable things. It cannot be captured because it does not have any entity.  It futilely repeats the act of momentarily meeting together, scattering or vanishing. The cloud becomes another frame, repeating the acts of reflecting and removing other scenes like a mirror. Another shape is hidden inside the shape of a cloud.  It is like there is a picture in a picture, and another canvas is hidden in the canvas. It is a drifting canvas, and a wandering theater as well as roaming cloud. The images inside it are those of the scene of an artist’s dreams, and the image of what the artist desires to see and the place she wants to go, and are like the memories and afterimages. They are also the images that appeared and disappeared psychedelically and instantaneously.
However, they are not seen in whole, but a part is covered while the remaining part is locked up in the blank and empty canvas. Viewers cannot look at the whole picture in a holistic vision.  The picture shows less rather than showing many things, and displays only a part rather than showing all.  In the traditional Oriental painting, blank is a strategy aimed at showing only a part of the scene with clouds and thick fog.  The remaining part is left to the imagination of the viewers.
Making viewers imagine rather than showing things to them is a way for them to see the object more closely.  It makes viewers dream, remember and pick out things and objects amid recollection and lingering sounds. Rather than having viewers relax their visual desires to see everything with the retina, it makes viewers imagine and perceive through their diverse sensory organs and spiritual vitality.  The canvas of Kang Seo-kyeong shows the blank, empty places and gaps. The artist drew the picture as though she was touching a cloud. The image thus drawn is again produced in video and shown in another version.  Video images are born during the process of collecting, arranging and mixing the drawings and pictures painted by the artist. The immobile painting repeats the process of slowly moving and vanishing, and sensitizes experiences in slowly watching the images that came inside under actual cloud migration and movement. This simple but interesting animation has quietly shaken and moved her picture. It is like a moving image that is reflected on the water surface. Perhaps that is the reason but the figure that drifts about and aimlessly moves to an unseen destination and the scenery quietly flows down while harmoniously coexisting with the canvas. The pictures put on a piece of paper featuring flat plane move in slow motion. It stimulates those who view the picture and the image to forget reality and go away for a while and come back. Her work thus presents a pleasant experience like a picnic for a moment. It is like the messages from the artist regarding itineraries and journeys to endure the life, which is nothing but an ephemeral moment. At the same time, it also stimulates the spiritual vitality to perceive the real world and newly revive the veins of the landscape that are used to induce body and spirit to the world beyond the picture.  In that respect, it is believed that the work of Kang Seo-kyeong is realized in the nature similar to a case where classical scholars were engaged in painting for their own moral culture, and similar to the landscape journey in the same respect. It means that it has been adapted by the sensitivity of the lively young people of today and contemporary media analysis.

By Park Yeong-tek / Professor at Gyonggi University, Art Critic

Quick Page Up