An Interview with Taekyung Woo
Siseup Kim, Curator at Gallery Chosun
This exhibition marks your third solo exhibition and it is your second exhibition with Gallery Chosun.
My third solo exhibition titled Painting of Drawings opens at Gallery Chosun this year, and follows the solo exhibition Tail Landscape in 2017 held at Gallery Chosun and Parasitic Painting held at Shinhan Gallery Gwanghwamun in 2015.
It seems that all of the exhibition titles reflect the unique processes involved in creating the artworks.
All exhibition titles of three solo exhibitions reflect my art-making processes. The exhibition title, Parasitic Painting, also reveals my attitudes and processes in making artworks. I made small prints on canvas using images taken with my mobile phone. Afterwards, I painted them in such a way that they filled the rest of the canvas, as if the images were duplicated in oil paint. I came up with this title that suggested a form of painting that lived in the images beyond the medium of painting. The exhibition, Tail Landscape, includes paintings based on a chain of associations. In the title, my process in which I search for words used in everyday life amongst hashtags on SNS, collect associated images, and then transform them into imagery for a painting, is revealed. Lastly, the title, Painting of Drawings, presents paintings made by the same processes of the last exhibition; however, the difference is that the searched target is drawing.
Tell me in detail how you started preparing for this exhibition, Painting of Drawings.
While the works in Tail Landscape began with keywords related to everyday life, the works in this exhibition started with images related to 'drawing.' I was thinking how paintings could also be shared object in virtual spaces such as on the internet or SNS (the most suitable space for looking uploading, and sharing numerous images). I myself also actively use the web as a way to share my works, especially as many things have been replaced by online alternatives due to COVID-19. Many works or exhibitions are now resented on virtual platforms. Even if we don't necessarily consider the Coronavirus situation, it seems that we have come to see the world through the virtual at a certain point. Without a distinction or concrete context, various kinds of paintings are arranged in online space beyond the limitations of real space. Tens of thousands of works are updated on the web every day, regardless of subject matter, theme, colour, and shape, etc. and without any restriction or censorship. So, I wanted to shed light on today's situation, where even a hand drawing is bound to be trapped between online and offline spaces. I painted through this process, where parts of various drawings found on the web were printed in small on the canvas and the remaining space between the printed images is filled with oil paint.
The titles of individual paintings are also interesting.
In the past exhibition, the paintings didn't have any specific titles. To hide the concepts of the artworks, I used the untitled convention, which made it more difficult for the audience to interpret the works. So, this time I made each title by connecting word fragments that related to the forms in the artwork. Looking at the different images that I collected to produce the artworks, I made a single word by linking the words that came across. Even though the word seems awkward and nonsensical, I thought that it would be interesting that the titles would have a similar collage-like form to the way the paintings themselves were made. Although the title does not directly explain the painting, I thought the audience could expand their interpretation through the words of the titles that list metonymically the actual materials for the painting.
The most unique part of the exhibition is that its presentation is changed during the exhibition period.
I am planning to change the display of the works in the middle of exhibition. So, practically the exhibition is divided into two parts. The works that form a conglomerate are scattered, on the other hand, the separated works are combined and conglomerated together. Some of the individual works are turned upside down or will hang in different angles.
What is the reason that you planned this set up?
I would like to think of display itself as part of the process of art making. When a painting is done and freed from the artist's hand, I think that it enters into a completely different phase. The audience offers different interpretations based on their own experiences and the artist cannot control the multiple interpretations generated by the audience. This situation makes it seem as though the artwork has a life of its own, freed from my hands. I wanted to actively apply this observation to the exhibition.
Despite having majored in painting, your works rely on the external elements beyond the medium of painting and still you don't abandon the medium of painting completely.
As you mentioned, my works rely on these extra-painterly elements. Printing on canvas is not necessarily a method of traditional painting. However, I think the meaning of the medium of painting itself is changing. 100 years ago, my paintings would not have been considered painting, but today it is absolutely considered as such. In my paintings, the hand-drawn parts and the mechanically printed parts coexist. I want these conflicts in heterogeneity to allow the audience to have various thoughts on how landscapes are processed today.
Do you have plans to pursue completely different mediums other than painting?
Above all, I would like to create variations on the work I am currently engaged in, moving in more interesting directions.
Text courtesy Gallery Chosun