Pontone Gallery is proud to welcome back Korean artist, Hwang Seontae, with an exhibition of his most recent light boxes. Beautifully constructed from tempered, sandblasted glass and aluminium, they are printed with precisely rendered images of contemporary, domestic interiors. These scenes are articulated and brought to life by LED lighting, which evokes sunlight playing across the spaces. They are as carefully lit as stage sets.
Hwang's are idealised, ordered and utopian images, highly controlled in their graphic representation, like architects' orthographic, 'CAD' drawings. These dry and diagrammatic representations are animated by the sun, which brings life to a mostly monochromatic world. They capture an illuminated moment of stillness and calm, a contemplative pause.
This world is unpopulated and ambiguous: where are the people? what time is it? Drama and tension creep into such outwardly neutral spaces. We start to look for clues in their spartan arrangements. Sun-bleached and breathless, they yield the smallest signs upon which the viewer can suppose a story. Like the compact dramas of Edward Hopper and the slickly designed interiors of Patrick Caulfield, we construct plausible explanations and possible scenarios; actors absent, we extemporise.
There is a sense of melancholy attached to these spaces. They could be the anodyne apartments of J.G. Ballard's world, where dissociation and alienation rule. They speak of a frictionless existence, a Design for Living, something bought 'off-plan', a refuge from unwanted contact. Is this the dream of a robot?
Redemption is at hand in the form of the sun as the invigorating life-force. It acts as the saviour, articulates the constructed world and makes it habitable and bearable. It is clear from their very construction that these pieces are reliant on light, their existence ispredicated on it. The artist seems to be saying, 'without the sun we are lost'.