Electronic Nostalgia @Richard Gallery, New York

with works by Young-Hun KIM

(Korean, born 1964)

Kim’s paradoxical screen-like paintings can induce disorientation or euphoria or tranquility as the viewer suspends ordinary visual perception as they tentatively stay afloat in the grooves of distortion. This mashup of an analog moment in a digital age of electronic nostalgia is retrieved from Kim’s childhood memories of being part of the first generation of television watchers as well as his love of vinyl albums to today carrying an accumulation of “smart” devices.

 

In providing a reference point for his paintings, Kim explains that “People like me, born in between the analog generation and digital generation, are looking at something that has been erased between the digital signal of 0’s and 1’s. Those somethings are similar to the mathematical infinity that exists between the two digital codes, or the linear sonic signal that exists in the micro valleys of a vinyl record - for those that remember them.”

 

The paintings balance a delicate sense of line with a post-abstract painting language influenced by traditional Korean painting technique called Hyukpil which uses a multicolored brush with a single continuous brush stroke. Kim’s method of a repeated thin single layer of paint across the canvas creates a virtual skin tracing the fluid behavior of the line as his hand slightly trembles. There can only be one layer of paint used to create each line, otherwise, the line can easily be erased. Solid non-linear blocks of bold colored pigment applied with a palette knife interrupt the serenity and clarity of the signal stream of the lines. The spectrum of colors within the paintings vacillates from tantalizing pastels and neon bursts to modulated grays and neutral browns, classical colors from Korean painting history to the digital saturated pink and green, expressing by color his duality between painting before and after the digital revolution.

 

By painting one single layer and representing disturbed screens, the artist first expresses the persistence of painting in time as an artistic medium and the possible quick obsolescence of digital art mediums. It is meaningful to know that Kim Youg-Hun made his name in the artworld with video installations. More importantly, he might point out the fragility of images possibly as a symbol of the fragility of our present civilization.

 

An exhibition curated by Robert Curcio

 

Artist & Curator Talk with dART International Spring Issue Reception: Sat, April 13; 4 – 6pm

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