The image of great vision
Review of Korean artist Kim JungHyen
By Doctor Gong Lin,
Professor of Fine Arts Department of Beijing Film Academy
The member of Committee of Experimental Art of China Artists Association
-Symphony of Painting & Silence of Universe-
Every time when I watch the works of South Korea’s contemporary artist Kim JungHyen, I feel like I’m facing the vast of the universe, being surrounded by silent symphony of stormy clouds interweaving with the wind and lightning. Sometimes it’s clear and transparent, sometimes trembling. I like to wander in this pure and innocent vastness as well as being surrounded by the sound of silence.
Artist Kim JungHyen travels every month between South-Korea and China. His paintings bound these two countries together and link the modern Korean ink painting to traditional Chinese painting techniques. In both private and professional life, Kim JungHyen likes to challenge limits to explore new experiences. He is extremely optimistic and open.
Besides of ink painting Kim JungHyen has studied animation and movie making at Chungang University. In my opinion his paintings reflect the passionate and wildness of the scenery, and meanwhile show strong narrative features of movies.
Passionate and uninhibited personality made his paintings go far beyond the general expression of inner space. Upon ongoing explorations and attempts, he created his unique style of art and formed a simple artistic language schema. Wildness and silence come from Kim JungHyen’s personality and his respect to nature and nostalgia. He gives value to farmers and woodmen. During the last years, his "Baekdudaegan " mountains expressed his desire and respect for farmers. Meanwhile the paintings with simple language schema and wildness have shown narrative feature. Whether it is the swing of the dying trees, the silence of the mountain springs, the flying eagles, the pheasants about to take off, the son looking in the distance hoping to reunit with his mother or Roar of Baekdu, everything is expressing conflicts between hope for the future and pain of past deep in his heart. He uses strong and heavy colors and applies unrestraint and free drawing techniques to express his pain and struggle. All these paintings, in the big size (such as “Rough Wind of Jiri” and “Myth of the Taebaek”) and small one (such as “Paean of Baekdu” and “Anthem of Baekdu” ) present heart moving strength and power.
Kim JungHyen has been deeply influenced by Western Modern Art since his youth hood. He travelled to Europe and the United States, studied there, held exhibitions and made experiments with new materials and techniques. He applied ink to undertake comprehensive material experiments; he did sculptures, installation art, studied animation and movie making. After years of researching, teaching and practising Eastern and Western art Kim JungHyen became very successful and well-known. Besides travelling and doing his creative work, he is a professor at School of Art of Korean Chungang University. All his experiences leads to a pure and arrogant image of his works with open and tolerant attitude. He classified his works as "Baekdudaegan ." However, in my opinion, his " Baekdudaegan” expresses no longer an individual hill or lake, but the reflection of landscape and home in his mind. Kim jungHyen adores Shi Tao and Ba-da-shan-ren but without addiction. He studies modern art composition but without abandoning tradition. Therefore we see his steady and open mind, but also rationality and deep thought from his works. His works reflect the peaceful world of wisdom, and also the world of a wanderer in a foreign land.
Studying, travelling, thinking and painting are the essential elements of his career and the fundamental source of his ways of painting. Kim JungHyen’s works can be extreme but not affected, such as "Fairy Tale of Myth of theTaebaek ", “Rough Wind of Jiri," and " The Dream ".
《Paean of Baekdu》
His works can also be unrestraint and free but not hypocritical, such as “winter in The History” " Rough Wind of Early Dawn” and” Struggles of The History ". His pieces of art can be dignified but not stagnate, with a heavy tone making you think the storm is coming. You can see it from “Heavy Rain of Late Night ", “The Hope of Kite” and “Anthem of Baekdu ". Different combinations between dry and wet, strong and mild ink make the black ink colorful. They express the arrogant and hope deep in his heart, and describe the history and struggle of his home town, as well as his dream and homesickness.
Kim JungHyen gets never satisfied with art. Especially his way of thinking and experimenting with ink, make his painting techniques surpassing the limits of traditional Pen and Ink. Moreover, he has reached the stage of self-willed and straight visual language. The usage of different painting tones, such as dry and wet, strong and light, make you hear quick and slow, high and low notes of a symphony of colors. There we hear the sound of wind, the bleak of autumn, the scream of a mountain and the silence of the sea…..