East Contemporary

Daegu Art Museum: Kim Taek-sang, Yoon Hee, Hwang Ho-sup “Water Fire Body”

Daegu, January 31 – May 14, 2023, http://daeguartmuseum.or.kr

It was quite a lucky occurence that I visited DAM right after two new exhibitions opened. One was the Lee Kun-hee collection and the other one was this one, a trio-show, which was in fact more like three separate solo shows next to each other. A bit similar to my observation many years ago, also this time it seemed that the ground floor was dedicated to more “external” art and the top floor to more regional, local art.

The common denominator to all three artists was that each showcased a specific method of making things and the production method was then repeated towards infinity in different variations thereof.

Kim Taek-Sang’s large scale paintings in pastel colors reminded me of the popular color shades in the Daiso store stationery section and maybe the bathroom section too. They had a very calming effect, pleasant to the eye. The soft gradients reminded of Mark Rothko. According to the accompanying text, the painting were created by spilling diluted pigment across the canvas lying flat on the ground and letting in dry up in a natural way.

Yoon Hee’s sculptural work consisted of round metal sphere-like objects. The technique seemed to make use of a hollow ball shaped mould with an opening. Hot metal was poured inside of the mould and then the mould was rotated randomly, creating unique shapes and patterns that, however, still conformed to the spherical shape of the mould. Same as with Kim, it was a play with the material, a controlled randomness.

Hwang Ho-sup followed in the Jackson Pollock tradition of splatter painting. His own twist consisted of splattering, then washing the paint off and then splattering again, etc. By washing off, only the contour of the splatter remained visible while the still not dry color in the center of each splatter was washed off. The splatters gave me a bit more energetic and nervous feeling than Kim’s sedated color fields. But also Hwangs splatters were pleasant. However, Hwangs work seems to have taken a turn. Later works featured female torsos with cut off heads wrapped in canvas and splattered over. This seemed to me like some sick perverts dream. At once the splatters got a very different taste for me, as I started to imagine all kinds of bodily fluids splattered across the remains of a wrapped female corpse… The gold color added a bit of a camp feel to it. Quite sick and radical turn, giving also a new meaning to the earlier partially washed off splatters.

Overall, this was an easy show, easy to consume. Pleasant to walk around and not too demanding. Decorative abstract works which would probably do well at every art fair and look good on every corporate office wall.

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