The Korea Herald


Three artists offer time to think about time

By Park Yuna

Published : Jan. 5, 2023 - 10:58

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"Heavy Elements" by Alicja Kwade (Koenig Seoul)

Every time you look back on the past year, it feels like the year passed so quickly, and when the new year comes, you think about how you will spend time more meaningfully in the year to unfold. Three artists whose works are on show at Koenig Seoul offer a time to contemplate about time; time is absolute, yet feels subjective.

The German gallery in Gangnam, southern Seoul, is showing the exhibition “Measure by Measure.” Upon arriving to the fifth floor at the MCM Haus building, works by the three artists from different continents immerse people in the concept of time.

"CC In-Between" by Alicja Kwade (Koenig Seoul)

The sound of a clock ticking is heard at a silent exhibition hall from “Heavy Elements” by Polish artist Alicja Kwade. Two alarm clocks are placed side by side -- one tells the time and the other is encased in lead. The leaden alarm clock -- with its substantial heft -- sits quietly without numbers or hands.

Those who are familiar with Kwade’s installations and sculptures would be surprised to see small paper works with playful collage elements, titled “CC In-Between.” The artist used brass gold-plated pocket watch hands for the series. Each work in the series reflects a day that she strove to survive amid the pandemic.

"Day by Day Good Day" by Peter Dreher (Koenig Seoul)

On the wall are 44 paintings of the same glass of water created by German painter Peter Dreher. He started painting the same glass of water in his studio in 1972, collectively titling the series “Day by Day Good Day.” By the time he died in 2020, the artist had completed some 5,000 paintings of the glass in a near-monastic practice.

“Today I will paint, and I know what I paint but not how I will paint it,” the artist once said. Looking at his paintings, one would feel a sense of solemnity thinking of the artist’s dedication and commitment to his art.

"Nov. 14, 2008" by On Kawara (Koenig Seoul)

Japanese conceptual artist On Kawara, who passed away in 2014, is most remembered for his "Today" series, which the artist started on Jan. 4, 1964. The monochromatic canvas shows only the date inscribed in white. Some dates may have been personally significant to the artist and some may have been historically significant. It took roughly eight hours for Kawara to finish each painting, and if it was not finished by midnight, the artist destroyed it.

The group exhibition runs through Jan. 20 at Koenig Seoul in Gangnam, Seoul.

By Park Yuna (