English | Korean

A Loud Night

PIBI Gallery

PIBI GALLERY presents the solo exhibition of An Gyungsu, A Loud Night, from May 9th to June 22nd, 2019. An, an artist who has been focusing on things we often miss or are not willing see, comes to us with a more intricate theme and perspective with attempt of approaching a new artistic turning point. If until now his paintings have been about going back and forth between “membranes and landscapes,” and about making observations of and recording his surroundings, his new works are about showing us an artist who is concentrating on the act of painting itself, the long, mindful gaze of the canvas, and his attitude towards it.

His earlier works that came after his first solo exhibition in 2006 consist mostly of drawing pieces that display influences of Eastern painting, his field of study. From 2009 onwards when he began canvas work, he produced paintings composed of simple colors and dematerialized lines that take advantage of quick-drying acrylic paint that makes adding additional coats easy. It was during this time of alternating between paper and canvas that An, using acrylic paint, came up with a way to express both the Eastern painting elements and the heavy texture of oil painting. The process of painting with acrylic, adding another coat when dried then repeating the process, led him to accumulate the layering technique that came about in his later works, possibly leading to his works to possess multiple layers. His following works showed his critical stance regarding artificial landscapes that come as a result of capitalism and city redevelopment, until the Barricade exhibition, from which point his interests moved on to more everyday situations and realities of the mind.

In his exhibition Membrane (2016, Gallery Chosun), he further internalized observations of his surroundings by using his full senses, where multi-layered dividers, various stationary objects, paper good, and even trash items were mixed and placed together in elaborate compositions. In addition, he displayed signs of considering his paintings as a kind of barrier, made evident by him taking and placing his work at the location where he did the painting, then taking a picture of the scene. With this attitude and method in place, An created Daebu Island (2016-2017, Gyeonggi Creation Center Residency Program) and painted the reclamation grounds, marsh lands, low tides, and embankments he observed at the island.

In PIBI GALLERY’s A Loud Night, we will hone in on the changes that are seen in his recent works. The exhibition is named after his 2017 work of the same name. The contradicting auditory adjective “loud” describing the visual images of a night hints at what the artist intends to show viewers through this show.

In addition, we find appearing in his recent works light and location of ruins, and the tension that arises between the two, the artist using especially well the dim but definite light that comes from when day turns into night. The obscure presence of light at unlikely places such as a wasteland or an abandoned house is an element that calls forth a bizarre unfamiliarity. In addition to the sunset and its glows, the artist uses artificial lighting to create a stark contrast between light and darkness. In Secret Burning and Truck, An creates strange and dramatic images that give the impression of being scenes of secretive gatherings being witnessed by someone from afar.

Lastly, what stands out is An’s intuitive interest in “objects” themselves. His recent work appears to pay homage to the famous painting Heater (1964) by Vija Celmin (b. 1938) and given the same title. From some time ago, the artist has been doing pieces about objects that hold stationary positions, such as a loudspeaker or a light bulb, some of which have been exhibited at the Sahngup Gallery in Euljiro. Portraying ordinary objects just as they appear to the eye, these works are better to be taken as recordings of the physical properties and surface qualities of the objects themselves, as well as a personal interpretation or translation of them by the artist, rather than to be understood as photojournalistic hyperrealism paintings. An utilizes not only real objects but uses photographs as references to capture such things like flowing water, falling snow, and a flutter of moths gathered around a streetlamp, skillfully using the effects of light and darkness to do so.

Through the A Loud Night exhibition, PIBI GALLERY is taking a close look at the new place where An’s paintings are at now. The perspectives of the artist that were floating about between “membranes and landscapes” in his previous works have now taken weight and is gaining depth, the brushstrokes that once filled the canvas now forming solid layers. The multi-layered acrylic paint is showing the density of oils, and the resulting surface is so thin, smooth, and even quite transparent that it is difficult to assess the number of existing layers. The light and illumination that invade the hours of “night” reveal objects “loudly,” but the scene leaves us with a sense of uneasiness, like a perfectly staged scene of a movie with the sound muted out. As such, An moves away from the obscureness of his previous works and through his new painting he invites us to move further from the landscapes, objects, and the surfaces we see, and begin to contemplate about things that are not visible, lie beyond objects, and the relationships between objects and existence.