Whistle is pleased to present COMBO, Hejum Bä's solo exhibition of 13 new abstract paintings. This will be her third solo exhibition this year, following shows at SeMA Storage and Kumho Museum of Art. COMBO is on view from 15 September to 30 October 2021.
This exhibition reveals Hejum Bä's explorations of the systems generated by the chain of abstraction, and her unique process of constructing pictorial ecosystems. Bä's work processes branch from inquiry into the possibilities of implicit communication between audience and subject, and of motility. In previous works, through deconstruction and reassemblage within the canvas, she focused on the structural movement and mobility that emerge from confrontations of colour, and their allegorical implications. These experiments were then combined with other key behaviours of abstract painting, such as the inclusion of intense colour relationships and the element of language. However, taking as her starting point a state ignorant of or severed from linguistic intention and significance—the unknowing—she sought to approach the structure as it arose from chained cognition through methods disparate from traditional abstract ideology.
In that vein, the act of choosing a title may be seen as an extension of the abstract work process; for Bä, who only does so when the work is deemed complete, it is a conclusion, rather than a concurrence. It is inevitable that the subject matter of a work is met in its title, no matter its presence or absence. As exemplified in both the exhibition title and select work titles, the word 'combo' incites continuity; a following-up or repetition of multiple components. Bä compares the feeling of this word to that of the moment when the combination of colours and surfaces coincides with her cognition, and abbreviates this pleasure into a single word. Of the works on view, COMBO (2021) signifies the exact moment when meaning is acquired from the fragmenting of form, while IN EQUILIBRIUM (2021) embodies the balance achieved through the gradual grounding and natural place-finding of individual elements as they appear within the canvas.
Bä's iconography appears from the absent and unknown, and in the vying for power between shape and colour, the canvas only achieves balance through the envelopment or disappearance of certain elements. It is at this moment of harmony that meaning is born from what remains, and the alluded pleasure with it.
Hejum Bä (b. 1987) lives and works in Seoul. She received her BFA in Painting and Printmaking at Ewha Womans University. After attending Stuttgart State Academy of Art and Design, she is now completing studies at Bauhaus-Universität Weimar. This year, she has held solo exhibitions PLOTLESS at Kumho Museum of Art, and Fyka Foretold... at SeMA Storage. Recently, her work was featured in Young Korean Artists 2021 at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art; and has been presented in other group shows at Whistle, DOOSAN Gallery, Hakgojae Gallery, HITE Collection, and more.
Press release courtesy Whistle.