ARARIO GALLERY Seoul | Samcheong presents The Most Ordinary Stories, a solo exhibition by Korean painter Jwa Haesun, on view from 5 July to 19 August 2018. Comprised of thirty-seven works ranging from the artist's latest colour paintings to a fifteen-piece series of charcoal drawings and accompanying handwritten texts, the exhibition examines Jwa's musings on 'the routine life' as it flows through her oeuvre.
In this exhibition, Jwa questions the 'most ordinary life' in her scenes of the everyday. Her unique method of applying high-density pigment layer by layer, only to wipe it away to start the process once again, forms the moody, dark-hued paintings that greet visitors on the first floor. The figures within her paintings, standing on the street, staring off into the distance, walking around, all with their identity otherwise indecipherable, encourage the viewer to make their own suppositions for the details of their stories. Landscapes where places of reality and memory coexist, the contrast of light and dark stimulate the imagination to warp familiar scenes into something entirely unfamiliar.
On the first basement floor, Jwa presents a series of fifteen charcoal drawings and fifteen short fiction texts, exhibited for the first time. These black-and-white landscapes on paper, manifested in line after repeating line to be rubbed and blended by hand, tell fragmentary stories of life. Connecting these creates a vast panorama spanning twenty meters in length, wherein the landscape and figures transcend reality and space-time to present 'the most ordinary stories' for everyone to empathise with. Meanwhile, the fifteen handwritten texts displayed alongside it convey first-person short stories based on real-life accounts the artist heard in the homes she worked in as a visiting art teacher. To evoke and delineate their individual voices, Jwa went so far as to borrow the hands of others to write out each one. Unlike the title The Most Ordinary Stories, the resulting tales portray aspects of life that are not so ordinary in the end. With these diverse accounts, the artist hopes we will reconsider the 'ordinary life,' and how, though we live it every day without second thought, its vision may in fact be the hardest of all to grasp.
Jwa Haesun was born in Jeju and received a B.F.A. and an M.F.A. from the Department of Oriental Painting at Sungkyunkwan University. Jwa held her first solo exhibition in 2010 and her second in 2015, and has participated in a number of group exhibitions, notably at Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall, Taiwan, 2010; Danwon Art Museum, Ansan, Gyeonggi-do, 2010; E-land Space, Seoul, 2012; ARARIO MUSEUM, Jeju, 2016.
Press release courtesy Arario Gallery.
With dark-and-bright contrasts throughout, young local painter Jwa Haesun's portraits of ordinary people remind us of our own memories of numerous overlooked encounters. Her portraits of unknown people have the power to evoke questions on the otherness of the others and the solitude that we feel among a crowd of unknowns.