The Korea Herald


Reyle junks conventions of art

German artist asks viewers to question whatever they feel like

By Lee Woo-young

Published : Dec. 3, 2013 - 19:26

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German artist Anselm Reyle poses in front of his installation work “What About Love” at Kukje Gallery. (Kukje Gallery) German artist Anselm Reyle poses in front of his installation work “What About Love” at Kukje Gallery. (Kukje Gallery)

Piles of junk take up a corner of the gallery space with signs saying the clutter is not garbage to be removed. The blinking lights from fluorescent lamps and neon acrylic boards are also carefully placed for a seemingly artistic vibe.

The junk installation is one of the recent works by German artist Anselm Reyle, a rising artist in the international contemporary art scene. His works are being showcased at Kukje Gallery until the end of the year.

“These are pieces that we consider as garbage. Some of the pieces are from Europe and some from Korea. The junk from different places shows no distinction because those from civilized societies are pretty much the same kind,” said Reyle at the press opening of the exhibition last week at Kukje Gallery in Seoul. Of the many industrial parts, sits a car frame from a Sportage made by Korean auto manufacturer Kia Motors.

While some view this work with an environmental point of view, the artist dismisses the connotation and leaves it up to the viewers to interpret.

“My works are pieces that intrigue questions. I am not trying to deliver messages or seek answers through my works,” said the artist, who was inspired by American rock band Heart’s song “What About Love.”

The Berlin-based artist, who studied painting in college, uses the objects as “paint” in his artworks. Using such common items as aluminum foil and acrylic boards, he creates polished, even luxurious images in paintings, installations and sculptures, which have a blend of major modern art styles such as Informel, Pop Art, Optical Art and Minimalism, according to art critic Yoo Jin-sang.

In one painting, Reyle creates unpredictable psychedelic effects by pouring lacquer and paint onto a canvas, and then spraying neon acrylic color with a fire extinguisher. Throughout his career, the artist has attempted to come up with innovative ways of using color and composition that rebel against traditional art practices.

While often criticized for the superficial allure, the artist argues that the beauty existing only on the surface is what he intended to create.

“By focusing on the characters that the materials have, I tried to create the aesthetics that exist only on the surface. It attracts people’s attention, but what’s beyond the surface is just emptiness,” explained the artist.

“The rest depends on the viewers. An artist is merely one who presents a medium that triggers questions.”

The exhibition “What About Love” runs until Dec. 31 at Kukje Gallery, Jongno, Seoul. For more information, call (02) 735-8449.

By Lee Woo-young (