My work, deeply rooted in and inspired by the lines of Hangul (Korean characters), can be divided mainly into two types of work: patterning with Korean characters and string installation. I think that Korean characters, with their geometric and abstract elements, possess enormous potential as motifs of design and fine art. I have been ceaselessly integrating image and architectural space under the geometric concept called line by means of analyzing space in accordance with the lines defined by the Hangul of my native language.
My installation work usually begins with the inspiration of a space. It leads to systematic research on the concept of space from an aesthetic perspective and visual, auditory, or synesthetic effects derived from an intervention of geometric elements (for example, a line) into that space. In my working method, I compose and realize an abstract image within an empty space. The lines that intersect and overlap one another grant a sense of volume, gravity, density, and movement to the image. The lines also create numerous planes and virtual dimensions, beguiling the eyes of the audience.
Connecting a line. Drawing a line. Hanging a line in space.
In conjunction with my installation work, I recently started creating two-dimensional work that is based upon my spatial inspirations. All of my work including installation, two-dimensional, and three-dimensional pieces are fundamentally connected to line, the geometrical formative language. The basics of every form around us is a straight line. I imagine invisible things hidden in a space and simplify the inspiration and images that I receive from that space, constructing an image that consists of vertical and horizontal lines. I express visual inferences I draw in the process in the form of installation, drawing, and collage, applying recurring mathematical principles into the work. By these lines, a space is divided, and each space constructs an independent identity and diversity at the same time.
The lines that move from a dot to a dot represent time-based and spatial movement, and at a certain point a change in direction, heading towards the past or the future. As we express places in a journey as a dot and the route between them as a line, to me, a line is construed as an active sign that conveys a movement and a flow unlike a dot or a plane standing still. Each dot symbolizes individuals, and the lines connected between them embody a relationship and a communication. There are loose or tight tensions, and sometimes the exceeding tensions break the lines, which represents a relationship in our society.
While installing the strings that endlessly repeat in space, with one hand holding the tension of the string, walking back and forth through the same space sometimes hundreds or thousands of times, there are moments of meditation akin to spiritual practice. Ironically, I find peace of mind from the ceaselessly repeating actions. And I bring that sense of meditation into a two-dimensional surface, and repeatedly drew lines, composing a plane. The result is the drawing series titled Meditation. The plane being filled up with each act of the drawing of a line is filling and at the same time emptying. As the act is filling up the space, the mind and spirit are becoming empty.
My recent solo exhibition Abstraction from the Line of Hangul consists of the newly created abstract ink paintings titled Study of Line Series (2016). As in Mondrian’s geometric abstraction that emphasized a geometrical order, I restrained as much emotion as possible and expressed images from the viewpoint of the East with combinations and arrangement of lines in proportion. In this series of work, I will continue to develop the abstract ink painting of the East, which is expressed through the lines of ink, from a modern perspective. Restrained lines in ink and the vastly empty space between them will allow the viewers to have moments of contemplation. In my work, the lines become my own code to which the rule of giving meaning can be applied, crossing the boundaries between space and a two-dimensional surface. I would like to continue creating work that could express with originality the conceptual beauty granted by a line—the abstract and geometric element under a new light.