1 - 27 NOVEMBER 2012
HADA Contemporary is pleased to present the first UK solo exhibition by Ahn Chulhyun.
Ahn’s artistic oeuvre concentrates on the concept of the space and its ambiguity and abstractness originating from its invisibility. By constructing variety of subdued light emitting boxes composed of fluorescent light with mirrors, the artist focus on the possibility of the visualisation of the space through the illumination of the infinite depth.
He began his artistic practice as a painter depicting hard-edged perspective two-dimensional paintings. Acknowledging the limitation in fully encapsulate the three-dimensionality of the space through two-dimensional paintings, he transforms the geometric objects often shown in his earlier paintings into actual objects and uses light and mirrors to visualise the space. Analogous to the effort of the cosmologists on their mission to measure the size of and to draw the map of the universe with the speed of light, the artist also toys with the characteristics of light and incorporates into his works to create fading light of abyss. Thus, revealing the space itself.
As he focuses on the induction of spectator’s experience of light and space under specific condition, the vestiges of Light and Space movement in his artistic practice become apparent, along with the artist’s inspirations from Dan Flavin and other minimalist artists. Furthermore, his encouragement of the physical engagement with the space and material also shares affiliations with Kinetic and Optical artists as Gianni Colombo from the physical embodiment of the space itself as seen in Spazio elastico (1967-68). Nevertheless, it is necessary to note that Ahn’s constructions are distinguishable from other modern and contemporary artists who share similar artistic practice such as Olafur Eliasson and Leo Villareal as he concentrates on the Zen Buddhist’s meditative state of Selflessness triggered from the phenomenological experience of the empty space. The infinite emptiness and voidity of the space is in fact filled with innumerable entities as air, light, space itself and thus infinite possibilities. In which, the artist anticipates for the audiences to launch into their own infinite spiritual voyage through the physical experience detached from the secular lives for the ultimate enlightenment.
In Ahn’s seminal work Mu Rung Do Won (Infinite Garden, 2008) this is evident as he refers back to the lost paradise from ‘The Tale of the Peach Blossom Spring’ - story of a fisherman’s encounter with the peach flower blossoming paradise whilst ascending a river to fish - by Tao Yuanming (365~427). As one of the most famous Chinese writers of the period, he is well acknowledged for concise and simplistic verses without extravaganza and established his literary influence in various neighbouring Asian countries including Korea. Mu Rung Do Won meaning ‘the beautiful place where the peach flowers blossom’ is a paradise residing in between the reality and the illusion where all the anxiety and karma is forgotten. Ahn invites the viewers to this forgotten paradise constructed from light and mirrors creating the utopia of endlessly fading light for the audiences to fall into.
Ahn Chulhyun (b.1971) lives and works in Baltimore in United States. He received MFA at Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MA at Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti and BFA at Chu-Gye University for the Arts, Seoul. He has exhibited internationally including Saatchi Gallery London, Ayyam Art Center Dubai, Caprice Horn Gallery Berlin, Korea National Museum of Contemporary Art, Hangaram Art Museum Seoul, Kunstraum: Morgenstrasse Karisruhe, Delaware Art Museum, Conner Contemporary Washington DC, C. Grimaldis Gallery Baltimore among others.