Hwang Seontae was born in South Korea in 1972. He studied fine art at Kyunghee University in South Korea and went on to train in Sculpture at Burg Giebichenstein University of Art and Design Halle in Germany, where he completed his postgraduate study, specialising in Glass Art. He has exhibited in South Korea, the USA and Europe, showing numerous times in the UK, where he is exclusively represented by The Pontone Gallery.
His work takes the form of the ‘light box’, constructed from layers of printed and etched glass, depicting cooly delineated, contemporary interiors. The box has a self-contained light source which articulates the imagined scene. Sunlight enters through windows, casting pools and patterns of illumination and projecting shadowed forms across the silent spaces. In this mostly monochromatic world, there are hints of subtle colour in the exterior glimpses of landscape and foliage. The sun’s rays energise and bring life to the scene. Rooms are deserted but not abandoned; they are furnished and maintained. There is a sense of recent departure and/or imminent return.
If these images express absence, they are also about the expectation of presence. There is a palpable sense of anticipation. They hint at the delayed pleasure of inhabiting such a calm, controlled space and a desire for the ordered, familiar simplicity of domestic structure. This atmosphere of expectation is also theatrical; something may be about to happen. The dramatic space is clearly defined and the props are in place. This may be an interval before action continues.
Whatever our conjecture about these pieces, their overriding sense of is of pause, stillness and suspension. They articulate a space for contemplation. The artist has made a stage-set for the action of the sun, its rays lighting the gloom of the man-made interior, bringing a moment of clarity and awareness.