Kang Seung Hee's Print
Prototype of Nature, Prototype of Existence
Kho, Chung-Hwan(Art Critic)
Kang Seung Hee has been concentrating herself only
on the type Etching print more than 20years.
He seems to have reached to a certain stage regarding to the etching print, since he has long experiences, different from others. When we see him pictures, Smooth change of tones through aquatint technique in harmony with the black and white monotonous picture and moderate composition gives viewers poetic inspiration and zest, as if we see a piece of brush painting in Indian ink.
Though sometimes cities and recognizable places of Seoul appeared as materials, they could be called as a kind of emotional landscapes rather than actual landscape.
At the same time they are hardly to be regarded as a landscape painted purely through the notion of the artist, because they are filtered out through the eye of heart one time.
In this way, needless to say the natural landscape, city landscape of which substance is relatively obvious becomes abstract halfway, when they are handled by the hands of the artist .And then a certain sentiment which could be called lyric and suggestive internal sound nested in the place. Instead reproducing the sensuously, whether it is a city or nature, beyond it, a tiny boat in the original stable horizontal composed large picture artificial product becomes harmonious with the nature. Probably the artist tried to make many seniors think of oriental conversion, open a certain perspective to define as real existence.
German aesthetician Georg Simmel found the loss of Modern people in the loss of their hometown. The confusion of identity and reason of loss feeling are put down to the loss of the prototype consciousness that conforms a kind of hometown(which itself should be regarded as a kind of basic source, rather than as a geopolitical meaning ).
These loss feeling related with the loss of center of Whitehead, seems to be settled as the popular symptoms of modern people along with the loss of hometown, prototype, essence. Here the task of art becomes self-evident. That is, to suggest, make remind of the lost hometown, prototype, essence and return them.
The perspective shown through the Kang Seung Hee's print and through it the suggested real existence of prototype accord with the task. It, that is to say, prototype existence doesn't exist in the practical existence of things, objects and the world.
It exists in a certain spot which could be met after sensible tunic of the flowing, moving and changing world and looks as if stopped and entirely empty, and exists in the paradox which talks through the empty and at the same time abundant, moving without movement and talks in the silence.
The vision which indicates the paradox is margin an and suggestion. Artist's print is deeply related with the establishment of the space opened by this margin or in it contained suggestive space formation. And solitude provoked by a static picture as if totally empty and the quietness and silence and the gloomy feeling is woven closely with this suggestive space.
The artist is infatuated with the dry point technique for a few years. As is generally known, dry point is the direct engraving method among the engraving methods of etching, and more traditional than the corrosion method which is a kind of indirect engraving method.
As the consciousness of the artist intends to the prototype existence of nature, the process to express it also becomes relatively more fundamental. However, not only insisting the dry point but also tuning it up with the corrosion method properly.
The artist treats most of the important motives using dry point method, and restricts the corrosion method to a minimum. In this way in him recent works, one could find out when, how, in which motive the effect of the direct engraving method and indirect engraving method becomes the greatest. It could be regarded as a certain stage that became possible through long experiences in the simple print of copper plate print.
In the dry point it contains the word spot. if points, it becomes point, but draws , it becomes line. With these points and lines made like the above method, the artist produces prints only.
While dotting with the self-made sharp needle point beating(falling) the copper plate, the artist becomes soon fascinated with the freedom from all thoughts and ideas .
It is similar to the process to ruminate the existence of nature from the bottom of the heart (dismantle and make empty) and then transform it into a kind of prototype existence.
Many dots gathered in this way become a tree, forests, night, darkness and a cosmos. The revealed shape like that could be only recognized as a tree or forests only according to the preconception, in fact, it is close to a large silhouette or organic mass.
By adding a special pigment diamond black to this, pitch- darkness is formed, and a certain zest is added as if confronting abyss from this.
And while drawing the line on the copper plate with the needle powerfully, scrap metal are made around the lines and the artist makes those as the figurative element and maximizes the running effect such as of the brush painting, and obtains more abundant features of lines because of its vague boundary.
At the same time the heterogeneous and the coherent processes like regulating the cohesion of the spreading ink or controlling the wiping level of the excessive ink are gathered and open the certain spot where the real nature and the artist's zest about it infiltrates and the certain perspective called as the prototype existence of nature.
The landscape through the perspective, though it started from the reality, looks like that of mind and intention reflected from the artist's personal emotion rather than the reality itself, symbolic manifestation(another different type of self-portrait)imported from the identity of the artist.
Like this static and quiet, still and empty and abundant distant feeling arises. And boldly details omitted monotonous composition and the suggestive space which the margin occupying the large part of the picture opened, and thus the lines and horizontal lines in bold relief fortify the unrealistic and distant and dim sentiment.
Especially lines and horizontal lines seem to hold the unlimited sea and the sky in them, suggest the border of the reality and unreality, therefore arouse the fear of the nature and the feeling of worship strongly.
These sentiment and feeling is supported most of all by the largely occupied margin and the empty space of the picture. As if the landscape through the paper window adds the poetic zest, this empty space and margin fortify the dominant sentiment of the picture.
Eventually regarding to the peculiar sentiment given off from the picture, from the point of view it could be accounted that the margin with motive plays the more decisive roll. The artist draws this part using corrosion technique practically instead dry point.
Margin looks like a mere white part, but in fact, it looks like blue, as if applied light coloring on the whole picture with almost unseen tiny stains.
The plate is corroded at least, thus clear and (im)material feeling, as if soft and moist air particles could be touched, is perceived. Besides the artist paints peculiar instruments like the roots of various vegetables and scrubber etc. As a result of corrosion of the painting plate, the artist produce the coarse images in a unfixed form, as if an image made by accident. Especially landscape with abundant weeds looking far away or a series of images applying the sensible phenomena of the surface of the water glittering by the pouring sunshine add the natural feeling with the definite reality. With this the special thing discovered in the artist's recent works is many boats are appearing especially. The lonely floating boat might be regarded as a kind of self portrait of the artist, and the portraits of us all.
Generally our lives are compared to a small boat floating in the wilderness of waters. The boat seems to emphasize the static quiet and lonesome sentiment of the picture. It might not a feeling of the artist alone being left in the world alone.It leads us to the chance of self-reflection, or this feeling related with the self awareness saying I am my own Lord throughout heaven and earth make us cope with the endless fundamental world, and stands against the immense silence before the birth of all languages.