up> Unasked Question, Unheard Answer_2009_paper, neon sign, variable dimensions
Art as Cure, Direction and Response-Youngjin, Kwon (Art History)
The other side of the Visible
Park Hye-soo's art works are on the opposite side to the formalistic aesthetics based on the conviction that is called 'what you see is what you see.' Park was born in 1974 and graduated with B.F.A and M.F.A at EWHA Womans University, Department of Sculpture in the late twentieth century. At that time, the formalistic aesthetics which developed centering around the U.S. was finished and various fields of art including the fine arts experienced de-genre, deconstruction, and structural reorganization. As compared with the actual field of art creation, development of the education system of academic art is always behind time. For this reason, Park and her generation who were students of art college at that time might be faced with problems about art creation.
Frank Stella who created black-striped paintings, so won eminence as a new artist has done away with overblown externality of paintings on the surface of paintings and aura symbolizing signifien. His dispassionate attitude pointing out formal essence of paintings stepped over the taboos of the surface of paintings. Contrary to it, Park reveals the other side of the visible again. If Stella's declaration was ultimately an emphasis to confirm the dead-end tunnel of formalist art, artists of the day are sure to turn back from the tunnel or deconstruct it. There might be no another way.
My guess is that Park was in agony in order to reflect to herself as an artist and search for the meaning of her works in the process of learning at the art college and the graduate school. Around the turn of twentieth century, art was declared to be en end. But at the same time, Park made the choice to feel the deep breath of nature, collecting leaves and petals and sunburning tree rings by magnifying glass like a sketch to comprehend the natural colors. It's meaningful that Park realized a way out of art creation had not been found at the art school and institutional art and experienced the process of meeting with herself and her works living in a mountain, in the isolated, natural environment. I agree with a curator Park Youngjung's view that Park who had not found her way in the social system perceived the provision of the world adjusting her pace of life to the pace of nature and this process was a rite of passage for her.
Nature and Park Hye-soo, and Human and Machine
Coming back to society, she focused on people, relationship among people, meanings of life, and the origin of existence. She is sure that there is more than meets the eye in art. According to her, the ultimate ideal in art is an effort to see the other side of the surface and harmonize art with life and religion.
Her two solo exhibitions in 2000 and in 2001 had some traits of land art with natural harmony. After the gap of 2 or 3 years in the mountain, however, her works have differentiated from her past works. Reflecting her life with deep breath of nature, she came back to people with carefulness and confidence. Motor equipment, clock movement, turntable, camera and video equipment were replaced with leaves and petals at her solo exhibition in 2004. In the mountain, she experienced to meet nature with her flesh and fell. Within society and among people, on the other hand, she started to express people nearby and their life.
Park began to ask our repeated everyday life, millions of people passing by and the meaning of relationship made by them. Our repeated everyday life was represented by short and long, repeated movement of the mechanism. Using repeated movement of the machine, she would like to make depth under surface, the inside behind the outside and content over form be a new thing. She has focused her attention on what people don't recognize veiled in our ordinary life, what people don't mention but they know, what people don't re-ask in earnest but they're interested in. But people look as if they had not had a doubt about the thesis of life, 'What you see is everything.'
She decided to live alone in nature to ponder on herself and human life. But she has decided to live together with people and taken a means to describe the human life using the mechanism, the simple hand-worked equipment, and the old style type writer that is far to seek. She would intend to visualize our repeated life as a clockwork and to make us think of our life through her works as a metaphor for our repeated life.
Time of Movement, Sound of Vibration, and Fragrance of Sensibility
Looking for content over form, spirituality behind visuality and the invisible under the visible, she overcomes visual aspect as a traditional formal language of art. She would bring in the long stream of time to the line of formative art, and element of movement that changes constantly to the immovable formativeness. The viewers would be surrounded by her works with time of Movement, sound of vibration, and fragrance of sensibility.
As an artist-in-residence, staying Studio DiART in Sicily, Italy, 2007, she laid over her studio's window looking through Mt. Erice with shape of open window. This had an incisive function to suggest a new vision toward the place where the residents of this region live and it's landscape to them who had not appreciated it's beauties veiled by their ordinary life. On the window of the side of the building, she imitated the window ornaments of the church and painted them. And this made the shadow on the opposite side of the wall at the evening be embodied shape of the Trinity.
Director of Studio DiART, Don Libolio said that her works make the invisible become the visible and the meaningless become the meaningfulness. She has visualized the invisible to fixed form and physical element and revealed it. The invisible means non-visual experience such as sound, fragrance and light, or mental area such as mind, emotion, feeling, memory and guilt feeling. In life and art, she focuses on transcendental, abstract world of sensibility and cognition above our everyday life and it would be a place of religion to her. Her works which make us remind of our memory and reflect our inner world would be aroused by sound of finger-peck resounding at the exhibition space, sound of grinder leaving from memory, sign of present becoming more distant as someone comes closer, vibration responded by tactual sense, and fragrance speaking for various emotional, mental states.
Dialogue with heart and Response with sincerity
Another change reached her in 2009. Her new solo exhibition titled Into Drawing 10-Dialogue at SOMA Drawing Center(Seoul) was compounded of recordings from dialogues of ordinary people and their life in public places. She asked some experts of relevant subject area for advise or direction, and to continue the dialogues after turning the dialogues to the writing and sending to the experts. The contents of the dialogues which have collected from various place in Seoul for several months were exhibited as the form of archive, and the experts' responses and directions were arranged as the form of recording, amulet, music, perfume, and written opinion.
What she recorded is common, ordinary thing that people can hear and understand. It is from a cafe, subway, and other places around our ordinary life. She has collected it found in everytime and everywhere and made it to words for a long time. She would ask us "Why do not people have careful conversation with each other?" She would intend to suggest us who have not tried to meet others' views in spite of many conversations in our ordinary life to look at ourselves and others carefully.
After Life, an impressive Japanese movie for her, is a story about a week in Limbo where is a intermediate place between this life and eternity. In this movie, before leaving Limbo, the dead men are ordered to take the happiest moment in this life. They are noticed to choose the moment with prudence, because it is only thing that they can bring along. They go to the work and try to make their quota for the day as a salesperson. "What is the happiest moment in your life?" is a question or a conversation about eternity leaving the flow of space and time at a twitch.
The dismal trade ads telling us to prepare one's death according to the options are not unfamiliar to us anymore. Although, To expect the final day which seems to be a moving-in notification as the director of this movie tells us is so familiar that it would rather be unexpected. And it asks us to compress our life into a moment after asking "When did you pass away?" which sounds like "When did you move this town?" What is our life? What makes human live? What does human try and conflict for? These would be the forms of collection, questionnaire and response, which might be similar to the movie.
Response for you and Direction for me
In her new exhibition, she would focus that a conversation of some people sitting on the backward seat in a bus, or a dialogue of a man and a woman meeting for marriage at the cafe in a luxury hotel is covered under popularity, diliness and forced seriousness with passing over the views of the conversation. Many people have conversation as a Zen dialogue, an irrelevant answer or an empty answer, and she watch this. We have missed truthfulness and seriousness of our dialogues in this moment which might be the last. She hopes our ordinary dialogues stand above our ordinary life as we talk about our ordinary life after death. If we see each other with true heart, every moment of life will be the moment with meaningful philosophical perception, confidential, religious awakening, and clear catharsis.
It is over fifty years since the boundary among various kinds of art vanished and the autismic frame of art deconstructed. At the present, staying the place between life and art, and art and religion, Park is, as an artist suffering from creation, looking for a stepping stone for art creation. She would suggest to reflect one's life, other's existence, and relationship from togetherness to us who have had many conversation and shared others' views, though disregarded the precious, essential things in social accepted idea and repeated everyday life.
After experiencing that boundary with exact form between art and other kinds of art, and art and life was deconstructed, Park remarks that art in our time will fill the role of healing, direction and response. She has found and will find the direction for our mind, careful sympathy and the response with true heart that we have not received from existing religions, mental healing and psychological counselling.