PKM Gallery is pleased to present on paper as an exhibition to wrap up 2022. The exhibition introduces around 40 works on paper by 15 artists, from those who represent Korean modern art to contemporary artists who are currently active, and provides a stage where the boundaries of various eras and genres are broken down and the artists' artistic directions are exchanged unrestrained through the medium of paper.
Paper is a light and portable material and a neutral matrix that generously accommodates different materials such as graphite, coloured pencil, watercolour, and oil paint, and being such an open medium, artists have applied paper in their works in multiple ways. While paper is widely used as a means to capture the emerging moment of new ideas as well as each stage of the evolution of thoughts, artists have been constantly contemplating the form and composition of the screen of paper so that works themselves can have a sense of completion.
on paper points out works on paper as entities with their inherent beauty, moving beyond the perspective of regarding paper works as a prequel to the main work or a sequel in a derived form. At the same time, the exhibition was curated to examine how those diverse spectrums of beauty unfold in each artist's paper works.
The pen drawings Kwon Jin Kyu (1922–1973) made while studying in Japan in the 1950s and Yun Hyong-keun's (1928–2007) studies from the 1960-80s on everyday materials like a sketchbook, graph paper, and a leaf of a book plainly reveal the process by which their artistic language was established. Sang Nam Lee (b.1953) sublimates the rhythmic yet delicate formative symbols of his representative urban civilisation into a higher standard of beauty at the point where pen and paper meet, while Jiwon Kim (b.1961) encapsulates 'mendrami' and 'lemon,' the main motifs of his works, with a lighter and more vivid touch on paper than on canvas. Suh Seung-Won (b.1941) presents a paper series titled Simultaneity, in which colours and light vibrate subtly just as sunlight barely penetrates changhoji (traditional Korean paper made from mulberry bark), Shin Min Joo (b.1969) unveils the 'PD' and 'DW' series, in which paint is boldly applied and pushed quickly with a squeegee to reveal the varied textures of brush strokes, and Cho Duck Hyun (b.1957) displays a rice paper series, descending, which quotes images of religious and human tragedy from Rubens' The Descent from the Cross (1612–1614). These works on paper bring up the key topic that each artist has been persistently exploring in the art world in a light yet deep tone.
Meanwhile, Koo Jeong A's (b.1967) delicate pen drawing, where new parts are discovered when viewed at near distance, and Bek Hyunjin's (b.1972) paintings, which correspond to the bodily movements of every day, are closer to gestural and intuitive works than implying a specific theme, reflecting their flexible attitude of not setting a limit on genres. Young In Hong (b.1972) presents a wallpaper collage created while mapping out the movement of choreographers and musicians in the performance of Meta-hierarchical Exercise, which was recently presented at Seoul Museum of Art, Koo Hyunmo (b.1974) showcases a piece of frottage obtained from the skin of date-plum tree in the yard of his studio and a sculpture using patterns of cardboard package as its contents, and Young Do Jeong (b.1985) offers works in which he paints, folds, cuts, and connects papers, straddling the abstract and the figurative and two-dimension and three-dimension, thereby expanding the scope of works on paper multifariously.
Digital-base artists Yiyun Kang (b.1982) and Cody Choi (b.1961) show physical works that have been converted from digital drawings. Yiyun Kang presents selected images that form the basis of a large-scale LED wall work, Vanishing, which is on display at COEX K-POP Square, while Cody Choi presents a print version of the outcome that was recently developed as a NFT work, where the artist adjusted the digital image data accumulated since 1999 with his own algorithm. Wonwoo Lee (b.1981) submitted a drawing, You are my burning light, drawn by the artist himself and a coloured painting drawn by Trojan X, an artificial intelligence artist invented by Wonwoo Lee. These paper works, which were created through the collaboration of the human body and the machine technology, are a reflection of the 21st century in itself.
Just as paper has served as a medium for exchanging knowledge and culture since its invention in the 2nd century B.C., on paper acts as a vessel that naturally collects the different thoughts and languages of the artists. And through works on paper, a medium that most directly reflects the freely experimental processes and the world surrounding the artists, the exhibition will provide a broader and fresh experience to the viewers.
Press release courtesy PKM Gallery.