[KIM EULL] ASIAN ART NEWS -REVIEW OF EXHIBITION AT CHOI&LAGER GALLERY, COLOGNE
Contrast Of Extremes
Choi & Lager Gallery is presenting an exhibition by Korean artist Kim Eull (b.1954), entitled Three Steps to the Left, One Step Forward, through July 30, 2017. The exhibition is centered on drawing transmitted via a variety of media including objects, paintings, and installations, in an attempt to give form to the artist’s deepest thoughts and ideas. For Kim Eull, drawing is not just an art form, but is also the accompanying emotions of life that are later transferred to the drawing.
Prior to the beginning of this intensive discussion on drawing, Kim Eull created thousands of self-portraits, which lead to his Blood Map series, focusing on forging identity and existentialism. Through the portraits he discovered thousands of bloodlines to his ancestors. However, this issue quickly became too weighty for the artist. The turning point was a fire in which he lost approximately 400 portraits. Yet, Kim Eull was not upset about the loss of the paintings; instead he felt it offered him the new start he craved, leading him away from the topic of self-portraits and into drawing.
The most important place for the realization of his ideas is his studio, the Twilight Zone, where he makes his own universe, marking an undefined zone between day and night, life and death, the spiritual and the material world, and reality and perfection. This charged relationship and contrast of extremes allows for objectivity. The artist must position himself so that he can consider things objectively, whereby he also feels as if he physically inhabits his own twilight zone.
For the occasion of this exhibition, Kim Eull reconstructed his studio in the gallery where he hopes to provide his audience with an authentic understanding of the creative process and his art. In this structure, he shows drawings and objects.
Another the here is The Galaxy. Eull first produced work centered on the subject in 2016 for the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea, as part of the Korea Artist Prize for which he was nominated. The Galaxy, over an entire wall, featured 1,450 drawings, which symbolize the individual planets, and combine to form the galaxy.
The exhibition displays a smaller, adapted version of this. In this context, drawing is considered to be a continuation of the processes of forging identity and self-discovery, which, according to the artist, is only half complete. He will continue to produce these drawings until his death. The drawings do not deal with any specific topics; he draws whatever occurs to him. The subject matter may seem banal or elaborate. Recurring themes are life and death, as well as the self, often in the form of symbols showing skulls or tears. The last of the artist’s themes is his Beyond the Painting series. The integrated windows in the paintings are intended to create a 3-D effect. Generally, we regard an image as a surface; in this series Kim Eull poses the questions: What is under the surface? Why do we only wish to see the surface and nothing else? Is there another, unknown world behind this surface?
Controversial Paintings sits within a similar context; whereby the idea of a fixed concept of painting is shattered combining an image with objects and furniture. The curtains and drawers are intended to provoke the viewer to question what they wish to find behind them and inside them. Both series play with the traditional concept of painting, encouraging the viewer to form their own interpretation.
Kim Eull lives and works in Korea and has exhibited extensively throughout Korea. This is the first time Eull’s work has been exhibited in Germany.
Choi & Lager Gallery is at Wormserstrasse 23, Cologne 50667.
Tel: (49-2) 21 1699 2540.
Choi & Lager Gallery is presenting an exhibition by Korean artist Kim Eull (b.1954), entitled Three Steps to the Left, One Step Forward, through July 30, 2017.