Feel warm ‘energy of life’

By 이우영

Artist Park Ki-won, 2010 Artist of the Year, returns to local scene with solo show

  • Published : Jan 12, 2016 - 17:58
  • Updated : Jan 12, 2016 - 17:59

Spring seems to have arrived early at 313 Art Project gallery in Seoul, despite the subzero temperatures outside. A warm yellow vibe fills the cold gallery space, created with bright LED lights emitted through thin layers of vinyl sheets in different shades of yellow.

The installation by artist Park Ki-won invites visitors to experience the warmth of spring that makes seeds sprout and flowers bloom. The air, carrying a winter chill, makes one feel like being out on a cold spring day. 
“Temperature,” an installation of yellow vinyl curtains by Park Ki-won (313 Art Project)

“I aim to empty the space and fill it with dynamic energy -- one that is invisible, yet can be felt,” Park said at the press preview of the exhibition last week at the gallery in the Dosan-daero neighborhood of Gangnam-gu, Seoul.

The artist aimed at filling the cold concrete gallery space with the vibrant “energy of life.” He chose different shades of yellow -- the color he thinks closest to the natural rays of sunlight. He said he tried to minimize alteration of the space because he wanted to let “the environment be as it is.”

Park’s “minimal intervention” transforms the gallery into a seemingly noncommercial, alternative exhibition space in the affluent district dotted with luxury boutiques of Hermes and Ralph Lauren and large showrooms for imported cars like Mercedes-Benz. The first floor of the gallery has no paintings on the wall, but yellow vinyl curtains covering its wall. 
“Temperature,” an installation of yellow vinyl curtains by Park Ki-won (313 Art Project)

The artist presented similar vinyl curtains in shades of pink at the “Esprit Dior” exhibition in Seoul last year.

Also at the same exhibition, Park showed “From Pink to Red,” a series of eight painting in shades of pink and red, which were displayed along the French fashion house’s red and pink dresses and accessories from its archives.
Exhibition view of “Width” paintings by Park Ki-won (313 Art Project)

For the current exhibition, Park experimented with different shades of orange and red on square canvases, drawing repetitive lines on canvases to create depth of color on two-dimensional flat space. 

“The lines are gently drawn along the subtle patterns of Korean traditional paper, hanji, or on a canvas as if I were accumulating the passage of time,” Park wrote in his artist’s note. 
Exhibition view of “Width” paintings by Park Ki-won (313 Art Project)

The exhibition is his first solo show in five years, and the first since receiving the Artist of the Year award at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea in 2010. In his Artist of the Year exhibition, Park also worked with the museum space, covering the entire floor and wall of the museum’s central hall with vinyl sheets printed with greenish marble patterns. The space provided freedom to visitors, allowing them to lie down, sing or dance inside -- behaviors usually restricted in such a setting.

The artist has participated in the 51st Venice Biennale in 2005 and many group exhibitions abroad, including in Shanghai, Madrid, Berlin and Buenos Aires.

By Lee Woo-young (wylee@heraldcorp.com)