'Fossils of the earth'


In the Medieval period, Western paintings were found in churches and palaces. Pictures in churches illustrated the world of Christian religion and helped those who were illiterate to understand the Bible. In palaces, pictures of kings and aristocrats were hung on walls as portraits.After the French revolution, the theme of paintings dramatically changed. In the 19th century, artists began featuring not just the privileged classes, but ordinary people in their art, in a style known as Realism. They depicted ordinary people, objects, and scenery as they truly were.Around the beginning of the 20th century, artists changed their approach to painting from depicting something as it is to depicting something as a reaction to how they felt. Coinciding with this change, the invention of photography accelerated this movement, leading to the emergence of new styles of art, such as Impressionism, Fauvism, Futurism and Cubism. After World War I, the Dadaism artists rejected conventional aesthetic and cultural values and challenged the meaning of paintings. Influenced by this movement, artists tried to make unrealistic and invisible ideas visible on the canvas, which led to Surrealism and Abstract painting.

After World War II, the era of contemporary art began. Up until then, painters had been creating illusions of 3D on a flat surface, but they now began questioning historical tradition and redefining the original concept of painting. During the 1950's a movement called Abstract Expressionism flourished. Within this movement, there was a style known as Action painting, where the canvas was used not just as a surface to draw on, but became an 'arena in which to act'. The artist laid a piece of canvas on the floor and performed on it. In the 1960's many styles of art emerged one after another, such as Pop art, Conceptual art, Performance art, Minimal art and so on.

I am currently working on the 'Fossil of the earth' series. With this new body of work, I aim to bring to life natural phenomena on canvas. For me, canvas is not something to draw upon, not something to perform on, but rather a 'field for a natural phenomena to arise'. I do not plan ahead and I do not use a brush. All I do is let the ink splash from the glass onto the canvas, hoping that time and nature are on my side. After I put my glass down, the ink takes on a life of its own, it runs and puddles on the face of the canvas. When the pooled ink finishes drying, it finally leaves a distinctive pattern on the canvas. It looks as if a fossil of the earth has emerged in front of my eyes. It is the moment when Mother Earth appears to send us a message from beyond thousands of years.

The series of 'Fossil of the Earth' is based on Japanese calligraphy which is characterized by the concepts of "one-time", "duality", and "naturalness".

One-time: Once the brush touches the paper, the action must be completed without pause, going back, or redoing. The moment the last stroke of a character is finished, the work is done.

Duality: There are both positive and negative spaces in calligraphy. The blank space is known as the "interval." It is not empty but rather encourages viewers to explore their imaginations.

Naturalness: The ink gradually spreads on the paper. The spreading of the ink is beyond the control of the calligrapher. The artist accepts this and completes their works together with the natural phenomenon.

In an effort to explore something new, I abandoned the traditional brush-and-paper method. With the use of a glass instead of a brush, I can eliminate manipulation of skillful brushwork. As a result, one and only swing of a glass brings more accidentality and unexpected "interval" into the works. Additionally, with the use of canvas, naturalness shows anther aspect that has yet to be seen. Unlike paper, where the ink diffuses evenly, canvas allows the ink to converge inwardly and leave unique patterns.