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Finding Landscapes
by Gallery Sun Contemporary
Location: Gallery Sun Contemporary
Artist(s): Yujin KANG
Date: 29 Jun - 29 Jul 2012

In appreciating an array of new works by Yujin Kang, it will be wise to look back on the previous works of the artist. Using paint and enamel, Artist Yujin Kang has painted subjects of cityscape where the artist herself, along with millions of other dwellers spends most of her time. The artist’s selected subjects of depiction such as geometrical shapes found in specific city architecture, the reflection of light upon the glass surface of high-rise buildings, swimming pool, galleries were painted in an anonymous manner. Their combination with uncanny subjects like oversized trees, plants and lumps of meat created tension while the dripping of enamel on canvas brought on a strong and spectacular visual effect. Now the artist has taken on a new approach and it will be helpful to bear in mind the mentioned subject and method in comparison with the style of her most recent works. 

Whereas Kang concentrated on representing subjects of familiar and common cityscapes in an extraordinary manner, the artist has now taken on a new set of subjects; the scenes she newly came by while on travel. The titles of new works are taken after the specific names of the touristy places like Jungfrau, Luxemburg, Bruges and exhibition spaces like the Vitra Museum, Porsche Museum and Pompidou Center. Kang has chosen to depict the famous spots she has visited instead of the intimate and personal spots she could have ventured through while on travel. Other than being all tourist attractions, these subjects share an important aspect of being all artificially made over or created to be presented to the public. The artist’s interest in this sort of well-made, public places has been traced from her previous <Gallery> series. Whether it’s architecture of Pompidou or the postcard view of the Alps, they are both products of artificial organization and refinement and artist takes interest in these designed and polished scenes, ready to be published to the public. In other words, the natural passage of time which carves out nature and its scenes are of little importance to the artist. Instead she concentrates on the artificial changes exercised onto nature and the passage of time we perceive through them. As for forms, Yujin Kang’s previous works were characterized by strong visual effect achieved by random dripping of enamel on canvas, multilateral composition, and visual dismantling and reassembling of architecture. The method pertained to the artist’s reevaluation and experiment of the rules of the perspective and two dimensionality of painting. On the other hand, in Kang’s recent works are lessened portion of the intentional fragmentation and juxtaposition. Rather, a less complicated perspective and imagery are in place, balancing each other. 

Many would assume that the artificial subjects of Yujin Kang’s recent works like exhibition spaces and tourist attractions were selected upon the artist’s intention to raise a social, historical or political issue or doubt and that they bear enlightening and self-reflective standpoint. Yet, the artist states her intention is to appreciate the charm and communicate it to the audience. The way Kang sees it is that there is beauty in the newest construction technology, contemporary materials and purpose of these places and scenes. To the artist, it is no longer meaningful to discriminate against artificiality and instead she chooses to celebrate it as a part of our contemporary life and further, seek charm in it. The spectacles of her previous works have dissolved into a more resolute perspective and direction to incorporate more subjectivity and familiarity. 

In contemporary art, the subject itself is less important than how it is perceived and expressed by the artist. The perception of visual information, selection process and depiction are key elements in Yujin Kang’s works. Kang paints scenes she experiences. Whether they are mundane scenes of everyday life or those of exotic travel matters little to the artist. The selection is entirely up to the artist who chooses upon random impression or sentimentality and whose focus is on how to balance out the surface value with the subjective perception of the scene. In result, the scenes in Kang’s recent works are familiar and easy on the eye. Besides keenly capturing the things we tend to miss under the excuse of them being too familiar an object or situation, the artist also expresses on the same scene what we had considered special eventually grows old. In other words, the scenes Kang depicts are about both surface and imagery as artist sees them. They are familiar but extraordinary, special but mundane and entirely subjective and these scenes tell us how the artist conceives of the contemporary.  

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