Current Exhibition

Kang Yong-un, a Freeman Dancing in Infinite Space-Time
Kang Yong-un, a Freeman Dancing in Infinite Space-Time
  • ·Period

    2021.06.29 ~ 2021.10.31

  • ·Venue

    Gwangju Museum of Art 1, 2 Gallery

  • ·Admission Fee

    FREE

  • ·Sponsorship

    Gwangju Museum of Art

Number of Works

91

Design

Designed to mark the 100th anniversary of Kang Yong-un’s birth, the 2021 Gwangju Art Archival Exhibition, Dances with Art is an art show to herald the first showing of abstract art from the Gwangju-Jeonnam region to the nationwide art scene and to look back on Kang’s artistic spirit and verve by casting light on his pioneering work during the embryonic stage of abstract Korean art. This art exhibition is divided into three parts according to shifts in his way of working. The archival space arranged in this art show focuses primarily on the development of abstract art in Gwangju seen through newspaper articles and writings Kang contributed to newspapers as an abstract art theorist as well as Kang’s art spirit evident in interviews with art critics and his protégés and aspects of the central and local art communities in the formation of abstract art. The exhibition was organized in the hope that the art world and life of freeman Kang Yong-un, who pursued nature in his daily life and danced to an inner essence, could be shown with clarity and reverence.

Contents

Part 1: Painting seeks the nature of things
) As seen in his paintings like Woman, Girl, and On an Autumn Day, Kang who had been involved in semi-abstract work since studying in Japan portrayed figures in the expressionist and fauvist style in the early 1940s and depicted landscapes in meandering thick lines. As the art critic Oh Kwang-soo mentioned that “He seemed profoundly inspired and moved by the fauvists’ atypical, audacious mode in his early period,”5) his work Spring6) represents his inspiration in improvisatory brushwork, thereby demonstrating an atypical scene without form. “Although the painter probably came across Art Informel in the late 1950s, he has already reached the height of this style.”7) said Kim In-hwan referring to Spring. His paintings that show a variety of forms ranging from a mixture of figurative and abstract images and expressionist semi-abstract images to atypical images such as the action painting-like work Celebration (1950) he worked on for 10 years from the period of his study in Japan suggest that Kang’s abstract art and its realization has repeatedly gone through change and expansion.
Part 2 From archetype to original Form, from original form to indeterminate form
Kang Yong-un tried to proceed to infinity, consistently breaking away from any formal frame. Art was all to him who trod its path “from archetype to original form, original form to indeterminate form.” He didn’t give a thought to belonging to any school of painting or leading any art movement with his fellow artists. Kang Yong-un exhibited his works for the first time at the 2nd Contemporary Artist Invitational Exhibition, and kept attending up to the 13th exhibition with his greatly inspired creative will. He remembered that artworks displayed at the exhibition had been created in naturally rendered brushwork and by spilling, scattering, and dripping paints. An example is his entry to the 5th exhibition Work 1 for which Kang made an experimental attempt to use laminated paper. Work 1 was made by applying linseed oil to laminated paper put on the floor on which he dripped turpentine mixed with oil paint. What conspicuously appears in this work is a chance effect where paint infiltrates and spreads as its physical property. Congealed paints on the base of the laminated paper’s brown tone resulted in unpredictable formless space and time.

Part 3 Form is the line drawn by human unconsciousness
Kang, who has said, “Form is the line drawn by human unconsciousness,” seemed to consider that informalist painting would be indefinite unless the universe does not die away. The elements transcending time and space or flowing in a natural space such as energy, pulsation, resonance, and spirit have been naturally and repeatedly adopted as discourses on or titles of his pieces. Lines twist and turn, bring about geometric abstraction when they cross, flow or halt, or appear as amorphous protoplasm. Such a line is Kang Yong-un himself walking through the space of an infinite amount of time. In Revival (1996) the scene is divided geometrically where black lines meet colored lines while Memory (1999) has a composition in which the scene is also divided by lines. These pieces are classified as works of geometric abstraction by some critics, but I think it is more meaningful to interpret them as an intersection of lines rendered by Kang’s inner inspiration.


  • Conversation
    • 작품명

      Conversation

    • 작가명

      Kang Yong-un

    • 제작년도

      1949

    • 규격

      40x31cm

    • 재료

      Oil painting on paper

    • 설명

      Kang Yong-un’s work is partially marked by the juxtaposition of figurative and abstract art, while his abstract painting embraces both expressive and geometric elements. This work Dialogue appears audacious in line delineation and consistently spontaneous in term of its depiction of images.

  • Celebration
    • 작품명

      Celebration

    • 작가명

      Kang Yong-un

    • 제작년도

      1950

    • 규격

      40x40cm

    • 재료

      Water painting on paper

  • Revival
    • 작품명

      Revival

    • 작가명

      Kang Yong-un

    • 제작년도

      1957

    • 규격

      33.3x24.2cm

    • 재료

      Oil painting on wood

    • 설명

      This work displays the dominant presence of black calligraphic brushstrokes of inner inspiration, anchored in the dualistic mode of expressionistic or geometric abstract art. Its vigorous black lines make the viewer feel one-off absoluteness along with spontaneity.

  • Artist
    • 작품명

      Artist

    • 작가명

      Kang Yong-un

    • 제작년도

      1957

    • 규격

      33.3x24.2cm

    • 재료

      Oil painting on wood

  • Work 65-B
    • 작품명

      Work 65-B

    • 작가명

      Kang Yong-un

    • 제작년도

      1965

    • 규격

      117x89cm

    • 재료

      Oil painting on wood

    • 설명

      This work’s unrestrained calligraphic brushwork shows that Kang’s atypical images are based on Eastern thought. His 1950s paintings incarnated an inner mysterious resonance in fluid brushstrokes rendered by automatism and in the diverse expressive techniques of splotching, spreading, and permeating paints.

  • Work 65-B
    • 작품명

      Work 65-B

    • 작가명

      Kang Yong-un

    • 제작년도

      1965

    • 규격

      91x116.7cm

    • 재료

      Oil painting on paper

  • The Spirit in a Forest
    • 작품명

      The Spirit in a Forest

    • 작가명

      Kang Yong-un

    • 제작년도

      1971

    • 규격

      41x31.8cm

    • 재료

      Oil painting on canvas

  • Pulsation
    • 작품명

      Pulsation

    • 작가명

      Kang Yong-un

    • 제작년도

      1971

    • 규격

      65.2x53cm

    • 재료

      Oil painting on canvas

    • 설명

      Kang’s 1970s’ activity seemed to have externally decreased, but it had deepened internally as he realized his own lyrical world. As he said, he shook off the foreignness of oil paint through a modest composition similar to that of watercolors, pursuing the harmony between Oriental and Occidental traits and disclosing local lyricism.

  • Pulsation in Moodeung
    • 작품명

      Pulsation in Moodeung

    • 작가명

      Kang Yong-un

    • 제작년도

      1983

    • 규격

      65x53cm

    • 재료

      Oil painting on canvas

  • Resonances in Gageodo
    • 작품명

      Resonances in Gageodo

    • 작가명

      Kang Yong-un

    • 제작년도

      1983

    • 규격

      38x57cm

    • 재료

      Water painting on canvas

  • Revival
    • 작품명

      Revival

    • 작가명

      Kang Yong-un

    • 제작년도

      1996

    • 규격

      162x130cm

    • 재료

      Oil painting on canvas

    • 설명

      Characterized by the all-over painting style in the 1960s, Kang’s work displays his agreement with the Eastern spiritual world. It is not simply a work of Art Informel or Informalism. This work exhibits its own distinctive trait as a further refined and honed abstract painting couched in cerebral artistic idioms that are heavily dependent on the planes divided by vigorous lines and the composition of primary colors.