The directors of The Pontone Gallery are proud to present the first solo exhibition in the UK by this South Korean artist of international standing. Known as a ‘master painter’ in his homeland and represented in many museum collections, this is a unique opportunity to view his subtle, densely codified paintings.
The paintings are palimpsests, surfaces on which later information has been superimposed on earlier. The picture plane is defined by sequences of drawn or painted numbers. These files and rows, determined by a mysterious set of rules, are set into flat fields of colour. Delicate images of everyday objects are applied over these surfaces, setting off intriguing associations. There is a sense of the fleetingness of the present moment in the fragile images of flowers, pebbles and other ephemeral items deployed across the underlying grid.
These are densely worked paintings, exploiting the dramatic contrast between regular and irregular marks and signs. The handling of the media with its scuffing, cancellations, accretions and bursts of naiveté makes allusions to all sorts of evocative sources like notebooks, diaries, chalkboards and children’s paintings. This, in turn, gives rise to significant correspondences for the viewer.
On encountering this work one is aware of a concern with memory, of its capture and expression, and of how this artist sees it as a profound, but fugitive, task. What lies behind is the unrolling of a code, a list, a literal counting out of intervals. The paintings express the tension between holding onto a moment, and its passing, as the numbers scroll relentlessly on.