Korean abstract artist Hejum Bä's paintings and drawings form as a result of contemplation and cogitation. Though stationary by nature, Bä's handling of the brush and use of contrasting colours animate the forms she depicts, revealing the passage of time in the observation and production of her works. Bä pursues structure as it is induced by the chain of actions taken in abstract painting.Read More
Bä was born in Seoul in 1987. She completed her BFA in painting and printmaking at Ewha Womans University, Seoul, in 2010. She moved to Stuttgart in 2015 to pursue a diploma in drawing and painting at the State Academy of Fine Arts Stuttgart. The following year, Bä enrolled in a practice-based research programme at the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar.
Bä's artistic output acts as a record of intense contemplation of the image and its contained relationships in both a micro and macro sphere. Her delicate use of colour and choice of medium trigger the images she attempts to evoke. Bä employs acrylic and oil paint to evoke the fundamental essence of colour in their individual applications.
In 2016 Bä presented her first solo exhibition in New York at Sophie's Tree, titled Life Reportage. Works on view included the series 'Raoulia of Liverpool' (2009–ongoing) and 'Wrongdoings in the Park' (2015–ongoing).
The 'Raoulia' series was inspired by Bä's encounter with the titular genus of New Zealand plant upon moving to Liverpool, while the 'Wrongdoings' series developed out of the artist's limited observation of the settlement of homeless people in New York parks during a visit to the city in 2015. Paintings in these series illustrate Bä's close studies and memories of these subjects, abstracted in muted tones.
In 2018, Bä created new artworks for her solo exhibition Teeth on Tail at the OCI Museum in Seoul. The series of large-scale, brightly-coloured acrylic paintings demonstrate her explorations of the 'motile image', using folded paper as their reference. Figured as an abstracted landscape, representations of flora were replaced by the presence of folds. In works such as Piloti upon the stream (2018), an illusionistic white outlines where the paper had been torn. Transforming folded paper into form, Bä experimented with the 'motile image' and making motility possible in painting.
For her 2021 exhibition COMBO at Whistle, Seoul, Bä presented 13 intensely-coloured works composed of the artist's delicate yet sweeping brushstrokes that create a sense of movement in the abstracted forms mined from her contemplative observations. The element of language is a key part of Bä's abstract practice. To the artist, the inherent repetition and impact of the word 'combo' alludes to the moment when meaning is acquired in the fragmentation of form. With titles like Shuffling and Rolling Dice (both 2021), the collection of works examines the process of abstract thinking by incorporating the language, motion, and imagery of games.
Bä has received numerous accolades across her career, including the Incheon Art Platform residency (2021); MMCA Residency Goyang (2020); Seoul Art Space Geumcheon residency (2019); OCI Young Creatives, Seoul (2017); Seoul Foundation for Art and Culture (2016); and Baden-Württemberg Stipendium, Germany (2014).
Hejum Bä has been the subject of both solo and group exhibitions internationally.
Select solo exhibitions include COMBO, Whistle, Seoul (2021); PLOTLESS, Kumho Museum of Art, Seoul (2021); Fyka Foretold..., SeMA Storage, Seoul (2021); Teeth on Tail, OCI Museum, Seoul (2018).
Select group exhibitions include Young Korean Artists 2021, National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Gwacheon, Korea (2021); Edge, SPACE SO, Seoul (2020); Form/less, Whistle, Seoul (2019); Beonwe A-side-B, PS333, Seoul (2019).
Annie Curtis | Ocula | 2022