The exhibition showcases contemporary Korean artists in NZ, exploring the use of digital media and mixed media forms. The artists are key emerging and established artists involved in the development of the highly emergent trend of Asian art in NZ.
Jae Hoon Lee – Hye Rim Lee – Seung Yul Oh – Shin-Young Park – Joon-Hee Park – Yona Lee – Clare Kim, with art works from the Auckland Art Gallery, James Wallace Arts Trust, Auckland University and other collections.
The exhibition looks at the diversity of cross-cultural artists and their use of different media. Born in Korea the artists come from country with a traditionally rich art history as well as a distinct pop culture and contemporary art world. The experience of immigrating to another country heightens questions of place and identity, not only for the artist but also for audiences. The art works in the exhibition do not seek to place a specific style or genre on Korean-born artists in New Zealand. By focusing on ethnicity as a commonality in this exhibition, in turn highlights the redundancy of these same labels placed on artists, shown through the diverse and unique responses to art practise on display.
Hye Rim Lee
Hye Rim Lee will creates an installation featuring her most recent work from the series titled Lucid Dream, Black Rose, Glass Box (recently exhibited at Gow Langsford Gallery). This series centres on her signature digitally animated character ‘TOKI’, shown as a Princess, a Queen and a Rose, alongside scenes such as a Glass Box, Diamond, Purple Mushroom Woods, and Dragon Yong.
Lee is an inter-media artist working across digital, sculptural and performance platforms. She uses these different media to explore the zone that exists between the analogue and the digital, between dream and reality.
Jae Hoon Lee was trained as a sculpture and in recent years has turned his attention to digitally manipulated photography and video works. The exhibition will feature digital photography from his previous travels to Nepal and Antarctica, as well as his observations of clouds and sky.
Lee’s work also explores the fluidity of identity, using domestic objects and food, as well as personal items he brought with him when he arrived in New Zealand. His large sculptural work Feast (2007) created using a plastic dining table laden with plastic replicas of typical Korean food illustrates his diverse use of media and insights into everyday settings and objects as a construction/deconstruction of our identities.
Seung Yul Oh
Seung Yul Oh’s playful yet technically challenging art works are immediately evident in his now well-known ‘egg’ sculptures. The exhibition features his sculpture ‘oioio’ (2010), a part-bird, part-egg form modelled after weighted self-righting toys Oh remembers from his childhood. The bright colours and cute cartoon-like appearance captures instantly appeals to audiences’ imaginations.
Pushing the idea of pure joy in through heightened familiar objects, Oh invites people to blow up balloons until they burst and captures the process in a video work, also featured in the exhibition. Oh’s work shows how ideas of fun and play and inspire audiences creatively.
Joon-Hee Park was influenced at a young age by her father, a renowned surrealist painter Hyun-Kyu Park. Park uses surrealism as a method of exploring and mapping her psyche and draws from her childhood memories between two cultures.
Featured in the exhibition are her previous and recent works selected by the artist. Her paintings feature herself as a girl, playing with her old toys as her entourage in a series of dream-like landscapes that collides with reality.
Yona Lee creates a fresh perspective into minimalist sculptural forms, manipulating steel rods into whimsical and elegant line sculptures. Lee draws attention to the shift in perception of industrial materials such as steel. Typically seen as an aggressive and strong material, Lee’s curvy and delicate sculptures pared with banal found objects offers an ironic and witty perspective.
Lee highlights everyday objects by placing them at the focal points of her steel sculptures, her simple yet conceptually complex art works changes the way materiality and objects are experienced in a post-industrial world.
A printmaker, Shin-Young Park uses her art work to question the perceptions of immigration, multi-cultural societies, values of beauty and status. Moving from Korean to New Zealand, then again from New Zealand to Singapore in 2006, Park draws on her own experiences with racism and being part of a minority ethnic group in her work. She continues to explore her main passion about the lives of under-privileged people in our society.
Clare Kim’s intricate drawings are composed of tiny lines of meticulously-rendered texts. In Kim’s hands words and phrases re-form into exquisite fingerprints of loop, line and whorl that cumulatively build up into strikingly beautiful images, sometimes highly illusionistic. Kim’s work provides a calm, contemplative haven against this superabundant background noise of increasingly disposable data.