이희춘 LEE HIE CHUN

 

 

 

Drawing for Flower Garden of Dream_72.7x100.5cm_Mixed media on Cloth_2011

 

 

코엑스 (Hall A-70)

 

2011. 9. 22 (목) ▶ 2011. 9. 26 (월)

서울 강남구 삼성1동 무역센터 코엑스 | T. 02-6000-0114

 

www.kiaf.org

 

 

Drawing for Flower Garden of Dream_40.3x53.0cm_Mixed media on Cloth_2011

 

 

Fusion of Improvisation with Idealistic Transcendence &

Recovery of Nature of Painting Itself

 

A middle-standing Korean painter Lee Hie-chun has been stuck by traditional rendering techniques and materials constantly and persistently until an event several years ago, in particular, an international art fair held at Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, New York, USA, 2008. After returning to his studio with small success, he fell in pondering over his identity as an artist whether or not having exclusive icons survivable at the contemporary art world. In several months, it finally brought about a rapid, but fundamental transformation of his artistic style.

His recent artistic style is a borrowing of images from the past. He had studied Chinese Painting at Luxun Academy of Fine Arts, Shenyang, China, for two year, although he was a part-time lecturer. In spite of being taught directly from a professor as well as an artist old and famous for traditional expression, his artistic style nonetheless became more informal. It was ironical. Shortly after his coming back to his studio in Korea, he showed figures from various angles and seeming to float on traditional Korean paper using Pōmòfǎ(潑墨法) with Indian-ink and water at their outlines as in Dream-Reading of the Middle Path(2008). That new trend made some people having familiar with him being surprised. It apparently meant an escape from a restricted rendering technique, yet not from a traditional material. In this picture, the central figure is straightforwardly gazing at the seers. It seems to observe the law of frontality as in Egyptian statues. Between the central figure and the seer, thus there begins to form a direct communication, and owing to Pōmòfǎ at their outlines their dialogues seem to be continued to eternity. Furthermore, several humans and animals in small size located around the central figure seem to bring about its various shapes.

 

 

Drawing for Flower Garden of Dream_90.9x72.7cm_Mixed media on Cloth_2011

 

 

And in particular, his emphatic focus on human forms was a big leap or transfer from Naturalism to Humanism. His human forms are not sketched or conceived in advance, but naturally and improvisationally depicted as he breathes in and out for life. From this stage, he began to experience a freedom of absolute spirit. If we admit this as true, his further studying at China is perhaps not to deepen his ability to depict things on more traditional way, but to seek for his eternal spiritual nest. Likewise his methodology was to make himself move from Naturalism to Humanism, and finally to Subjectivism, i.e., to fathoming of his own inner world.

Then his spirit gradually began to dream of the visionary realm depicted in the key sentences from Xiāoyáoyóu Piān(逍遙遊 篇) by Zhuāngzǐ(莊子)(BC 369-286), a Chinese great scholar and thinker in ancient times. His visionary world created from Chūnqiūzhàn- guóshídài(春秋戰國時代) being stained by endless wars for obtaining the territories among neighboring dynasties is, on the contrary, to take a stroll on the absolute and free world, or to taste real happiness in the freedom as a gigantic heart of great nature beyond power, class, property, etc. Entirely absorbed at Zhuāngzǐ’s wisdom, then there shows a little change in his titles, from Dream-Reading of the Middle Path to The Middle Path-The Earth Traveling. What shape does such a change in title show on the canvas? Art Critic, Kim Sun-tae, suggested the title of the introduction for his solo exhibition at AKA Gallery, Jeonju, Korea, 2009, as Wúwéizìrán(無爲自然)-The Middle Path and The Space of Mandala. But, in my opinion, this title is also influenced by Zhuāngzǐ’s thought. In this style, he introduced only another rendering technique and material. Until arriving at this stage, he wandered about for a while. One day he dropped in his wife’s parents’ house, where he saw the old nacre-inlayed cabinet. It was a great discovery for him, and for his great next step.

 

 

Drawing for Flower Garden of Dream_40.3x53.0cm_Mixed media on Cloth_2011

 

 

The carefully knife-using strokes with different colors in oil paints were one of the patterns acquired from nacre-inlayed cabinet. That stroke evokes a kind of mysterious display of colors, and simplified and minimal touch. Insidiously, his traditional paper was changed into canvas mainly used for oil painting. Only his spirit is rooted into Oriental thought. Now, he is not restricted to any rule of depiction, material, technique, etc. He is leading towards an eternal freedom. In an initial stage of new style, Zhuāngzǐ, an incarnation of an artist himself, has to exist on the canvas. But he gradually introduced a technique of impersonation, for instance, to personify human forms into animal or flower or plant ones.

What’s the reason for a change as such in title into Mèngyóuhuāyuántú(夢遊花園圖) at Qíwùlùn(齊物論) by Zhuāngzǐ, implying no distinction between reality and dream or the brevity of human life?

First of all, he seems to intend to hide himself behind the canvas, and prefers to communicate indirectly. It is a strategy of idealistic transcendence, and indirect dialogue, sometimes stronger than direct one. Secondly, his strategy is focused upon icons with different meanings. For example, the peony flowers, implying wealth and honor, and the cherry flower, implying chastity, candor and spiritual beauty, are scattered on the canvas. That was not all. The butterflies, horses, birds, etc. are mingled with them.

 

 

Drawing for Flower Garden of Dream_50.0x65.1cm_Mixed media on Cloth_2011

 

 

In a word, it is the collection of different icons. They are freely dancing on the canvas with the objects of similar significance. In another words, it is a narrative of icons, the sets of objects appearing or speaking for his dream, sometimes opposite to his reality, but sometimes quite remote from reality. More frankly speaking, any attempt to distinguish reality from dream in his recent artworks is not important. In some, the peony flowers are grown from a curved trunk of old tree, even though it is an annual plant. Thus the objects on the canvas are nothing but individual icons, existing in same space. The artist is longing for reality in dream, and at the same time dream in reality. He endeavors to speak to reality in dream, as well as dream in reality via different icons. We have to pay attention to flatness of depicted object. The loss of their three-dimensionality seems to prevent us from a proper appreciation of them, but rather it makes us transcend the limitation of time and pace. Finally, he acquired freedom in both spiritual and material realms, and recovered the nature of the painting itself as argued by art critic, Clement Greenberg(1909-94), an admirer of the Abstract Expressionism.

Choi Byung-kil

(Doctor of Philosophy, Professor of Wonkwang University, Korea)

 

 

Drawing for Flower Garden of Dream_40.3x53.0cm_Mixed media on Cloth_2011

 

 

 
 

■ 이희춘 (Lee, Hie-Chun)

 

Born in Jeonbuk Province JeonJu City | Graguated from Wonkwang University & Wonkwang graduate University Doctor of Literature Plastic arts

 

Personal Exhibitions  | Held 18 times of solo exhibitions at Eol Gallery | Woojin Culture Hall | Ihu Gallery | Rosin Art Hall | Minchon Art Center | Gongpyuenng Art Center | Lotter Ost Gallery | Farrell Fischoff Gallery | Aura Gallery | Gongyou Gallery | Oalrsan Art | Simyo Gallery | Pak’s Gallery | Seoshin gallery, etc.

 

Biennale & Artfair  | Participated in Biennale and Artfair such as Beijing Art Expo | International of Junggu Arts Festival | China Seonjeon Biennale | Jeonbuk Artfair | NewYork Art Expo | SEOUL ART FAIR 2010, 2011 | Korea International ART FAIR 2010, 2011 | New York Korean Artshow, New York 2011 | Gang-ju International Art Fair, 2011

 

Displayed and Collected Buy  | China Rosin college | Canada Cuback University | NewYork IBM | Woori Bank | Jeonbuk Province Art Museum | Jeonbuk Provincial Goverment | Jeonju Jesus Hospitel | Jeonju city Library | Wonkwang University Hospitel | Wonkwang University Arts Hall | China Gwansan Arts center | Xener Systems Company | Jeonbuk Humanbeing Upbringing of Foundation | Jeonju Municipal Library | Luielle Hat Culture Center | Won-Buddhism Graduate Shcool

 

Homepage  | http://leehiechun.com

 

 
 

vol.20110922-이희춘 LEE HIE CHUN