TIME IS LIGHT

ALEXANDRA DEMENTIEVA, ANNA FRANTS, RAPHAELE SHIRLEY

The Sylvia Wald and Po Kim Gallery is pleased to present the group show, Time Is Light, on display at the SWPK Gallery from March 6th to May 18th, 2024. The exhibition features installations from three female media artists, Alexandra DementievaAnna Frants, and Raphaele Shirley.  An opening reception with the artists will take place at 6:00pm on March 6th.

Time Is Light offers an exploration of the kinetic relationship between its two titular elements, featuring installations by three distinguished multimedia artists. In its usage of colors, luminosity, interactions, reflections, and movements of light, this installation opens a conceptual portal, evoking transient yet poignant moments. The works of these artists endeavor to celebrate the innate ability embedded in light for storytelling, communication, and affecting emotional change.

Before scientists sought to systematize its behavior, and certainly before its existence was understood as an unsolvable problem in the world of quantum physics, light had already been heavily examined throughout history, as its natural mysticism allowed it a central role in many global mythological systems. Though contemporary society has all but disregarded a theology hinged upon deities of light reigning over the Earth, there remain lingering traces of this transcendence. This spectacular nature of light is central to the installations in Time Is Light. In these works, light is at once a medium through which time is reflected and the means through which emotional and political change is allowed to occur.
Alexandra Dementieva, Breathless, 2024, Interactive installation, 39.37 x 39.37 x 78.74 inches
Alexandra Dementieva‘s Breathless imagines light as a function of time in the present moment, mapping online linguistic trends in real time. By allowing the glow of installation’s lights to be altered when a participant breathes into an attached sensor, Dementieva emphasizes the malleability of the political landscape, as well as the agency of the human subject within it.
Anna Frants, “Stories of Light”  from series Simple Pleasures,  2024, Robotics, flip books, pencil drawings and led lights
Anna Frants‘ contributions from her series Simple Pleasures trace the moving image historically. These “stories of light” provide contemporary reanimations of one of humanity’s oldest aspirations: capturing movement, and thus time, in light. Through moving images, Frants evokes a tradition which has evolved over millennia from the age of cave paintings and shadow puppets to the modern era of film, camera, and digital animation.
Raphaele Shirley, 3 Tone Ephemeral with sound composition by Rhys Chatham, 2024, Mixed Media, 240 x 48 x 144 inches
3 Tone Ephemeral, a sculpture in light by Raphaele Shirley, celebrates the vibrancy of time as experienced through the present moment. Light here intonates emotion and underlines duration through its sequential appearance of alternating wavelengths. Integrated into the piece is sound composition by minimalist composer Rhys Chatham. His sounds interplay with the color fields in an open-ended sequence.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS 
Alexandra Dementieva is a multidisciplinary artist born in Moscow and based in Brussels whose work incorporates sculpture, dance, music, cinema, and performance. Her installations demonstrate an interest in both technology and human psychology.

Anna Frants is an internationally acclaimed new media artist, curator, and art writer born in Leningrad, USSR and currently residing in Miami. She is a co-founder of the CYLAND Media Art Lab and the CYLAND Foundation, and is a leading voice in cultural dialogue surrounding experimental art.

Born in Wisconsin and based in New York, Raphaele Shirley is an internationally recognized multi-media artist. Her oeuvre is an amalgam of sculpture, light, public art, and performance which sits at the intersection of art and technology. Through her work she explores the topics of physics, civilization through time, and finitude of existence.

YOUNG SUP HAN: INFINITE RELATION

NOVEMBER 16, 2023 – FEBRUARY 10, 2024

Young Sup Han (b. 1941) uses two and three dimensional works to explore the relation between form and phenomena. Forms, or the objects we see in front of us, are immediate and static, whereas phenomena are fluid and immaterial, such as the way the sunlight falls across the object. Han incorporates “indefinite natural phenomena” in his works, using materials such as boiled acorns, collected dirt, and dyed paper to capture the evocative expressions of nature.

Han’s use of Korean mulberry paper, hanji, and takbon is another manifestation of this meditation between the expression of form and the phenomena of nature through his art, while also expanding the boundaries of hanji techniques in contemporary art. Han employs the “Takbon” rubbing process, a form of Korean print making, over materials such as stones, twigs, perilla leaves and corn stems to create abstract patterns of bold, linear strokes that fill the entire surface with dynamic movement. The use of unconventional media, as well as the pressure and speed of his technique, create diverse textures that capture the beauty of the small, almost imperceptible changes found in nature.

Han’s practice focuses on the spirituality of nature and its correlation to the artist. The Korean philosophy of nature posits a complementary relationship between humans and nature – the self is inseparable from the surrounding environment. Rough, unpolished, and jagged lines imbue nature with sentiment. With hanji’s permeability for light and air, Han creates raw contours that portray the eternal and infinite cycles of nature. By manipulating the force and speed of his brush, Han seeks the undifferentiated state of the subject within a single movement. The abstract elements display the simplicity and poignancy inherent to the organic properties of hanji itself. Han’s forms capture the grandeur of nature that in- spires him, and the Infinite Relation between nature and self.


ABOUT YOUNG SUP HAN

Born in Gaecheon, Pyeongannam-do, Korea, Young Sup Han recently relocated to the U.S. He currently resides in New Jersey. He received an advanced degree at Dongguk University and is a Professor Emeritus of Sangmyung University in South Korea. His work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions globally such as the National Museum of Contemporary Art (Korea), Osaka Foundation of Culture (Japan), Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art (Japan), Rade Museum (Germany), and Mt. San Antonio College Art Museum (US). His artwork is currently on view at the Guggenheim Museum, as part of the exhibition Only the Young: Experimental Art in Korea, 1960s-1970s.


Forest, 2022, Ink on Korean mulberry paper, 75 3/5 x 51 1/4 in. (192x130 cm)
Sea, 2017, Ink on Korean mulberry paper, 55 1/10 x 118 1/10 in. (140 x 300 cm)
Relation No.9150, 1991, Ink on Korean mulberry paper, 72 x 196 4/5 in. (183 × 500 cm) 
Forest, 2023, Ink on Korean mulberry peper, 27 1/4 x 52 in. (69 x 132 cm)
Forest, 2015, Ink on Korean mulberry paper, 76 x 51 1/5 in. (193 x 130 cm)
Forest, 2022, Ink on Korean mulberry paper, 75 3/5 x 51 1/4 in. (192×130 cm)
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Infinite Relation is produced in collaboration with the Donghwa Cultural Foundation.

KYUNG-AE HUR: SILLAGES

JULY 12, 2023 – SEPTEMBER 30, 2023

Kyung-Ae Hur is known for her distinctive constructive-deconstructive technique, creating a chromatic symphony in which both chaos and order coexist within a single surface. Deeply rooted in her Korean heritage, her work draws inspiration from traditional Korean colors and patterns while offering a new, unconventional approach to their use. Taking its impetus from the French word for the wake or trail that lingers behind a moving object, Sillages presents a group of acrylic on canvas paintings in which the artist breaks apart and reshapes pre-existing orders to explore questions of presence and absence.

Hur’s process begins with the application of up to 70 layers of acrylic paint of various colors to the canvas. Once dried, she carves through the bonded layers using sculpting knives, surgical scalpels, or kitchen knives, thus breaking the smooth surface and revealing an array of colors hidden beneath. She refers to these revealed colors as “traces,” remnants of a previous state, akin to an archaeologist unearthing histories that are destined to resurface. These carved-out fragments are then gathered and reattached to the canvas, forming a regenerated landscape that is at once chaotic and ordered, mirroring the dichotomy of the universe.

In Hur’s works, every step is methodically planned and documented, from the choice of color to the placement of the “traces.” She approaches painting as a process and a performance, a physically strenuous yet meditative act of creation. The resulting works are vibrant, presenting a chromatic feast of primary and mid-tone colors. The use of a fine blade to scratch through the layers of acrylic paint introduces an element of chance, as the exact shape and color of each cut cannot be predicted. Thus, her paintings exist between the logical and the illogical, the reasonable and the unreasonable.

Integral to Hur’s practice is a profound connection with ancient Korean culture, a bond that manifests itself in various facets of her work. Her choice of palette, for instance, is informed by the five traditional Korean colors of the Obangsaek — blue, red, yellow, white, and black — that symbolize the cosmic order and natural elements, thus invoking a sense of harmony and balance. Further, Hur’s usage of empty space in the monochromatic surfaces of her paintings echos the concept of “void” found in traditional Korean ink-and-wash painting. Adding to this rich tapestry of cultural elements is the performative nature shared by both traditional Korean ink-and-wash painting and Hur’s practice,  capturing the artist’s presence and gesture as a lingering Sillage that forms an internal dialogue with the past.

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Born in Gwangju, Korea in 1977, Kyung-Ae Hur currently lives and works in Paris, France. She studied painting and printmaking at Chonnam National University and Sungshin Women’s University before relocating to France in 2003 to study Fine Arts at École Nationale Supérieure d’Art de Paris-Cergy and University Paris 1, Panthéon-Sorbonne. Her work has been exhibited globally in numerous art galleries including Paris Seoul Gallery (Seoul), Kumho Gallery (Gwangju, Korea) Francoise Livinec Gallery (Paris) and Kalman Maklary Gallery (Budapest). Her works have been featured in notable art fairs such as the Korean International Art Fair (KIAF), Daegu Art Fair, Art Busan, Gyeongnam International Art Fair (GIAF) and The Brussels Art Fair (BRAFA).


Kyung-Ae Hur: Sillages is produced in collaboration with the Donghwa Cultural Foundation.

JEONG MIN SUH: BEYOND THE LINE

MARCH 8, 2023 – MAY 27, 2023

Korean artist Jeong Min Suh (Jeonnam, Korea, 1962) is known for his singular ability to infuse new life into discarded scraps of traditional Korean calligraphy and literati ink paintings, creating elaborate paper works that blur distinctions between painting and sculpture. Taking its impetus from recent developments in Suh’s practice, Beyond the Line presents a group of three-dimensional compositions in which the artist draws on the simplicity of the line — as both a design element and visual metaphor — to explore ideas of tradition, continuity and the principles underlying the natural order of the world around us.

In his practice, Suh salvages discarded scraps of hanji paper, traditional Korean mulberry paper, bearing calligraphic texts of ancient wisdom and knowledge. He tightly compresses the scraps into individual layers, effectively taking the paper back to its original state. The compressed layers are then rolled into solid cylindrical units, which he cuts to unveil the layers of the transformed calligraphy, resembling the lines of time much like the rings of a tree. Suh assembles these reconstructed paper units into visually stunning sculptural compositions of three-dimensional forms emerging from the surface as tangible reinterpretations of ancient wisdom. Reflecting the Taoist principles of balance, harmony, and unity, these works embody a fusion of the past with the present, creating liminal spaces that seem to balance on a line between two worlds. 

Suh’s artistic engagement with the line draws from his studies of Eastern thought and the teachings of Lao Tzu. Faintly discernible slices of exposed calligraphic lines hint at the unseen core of the paper units and an internal dialogue between the past and the present. The artist poses the essence of the line as a dual state of being and non-being, in that it comes out of nothing, becomes something tangible, and continues in a rhythmic cycle of returning back to nothing. 

In addition to Eastern philosophy, Suh’s work has been informed by the tradition of calligraphy, one of Korea’s most revered art forms dating back to ancient times. The line in Korean calligraphy is not simply a means of conveying information or writing characters, but rather a medium of artistic expression in its own right. Suh’s practice is a continuity of this tradition, creating compositions that reconstruct the subtle sculptural beauty and proportional balance of calligraphy’s use of the line to form boundaries and structure within empty space.

As Lines of Travel 99, Lines of Travel 94 and Shout 5 exquisitely display, the balance of nothingness and unity is not static, but rather is a dynamic force. Amassed paper units conceal endless layers of hidden lines that teem with the tension of tiny variations in tone and texture, creating a sense of flowing movement across the picture plane. Their undulating surfaces reflect nature’s balanced harmony, reminiscent of wind blowing in rice fields or the ebb and flow of water along the path of a river. 

Exploring the visual power of contrasts to delineate boundaries, works such as Line 33, Line 12 and Absence of Worldly Desire 32 allude to modern interpretations of the mandala, a traditional depiction of the cosmos. These monotonal compositions exude a quiet, yet intense, dynamic energy, which the artist adeptly captures in bold swaths of contrasting black and white space and intuitive splashes of color to reveal the presence of interconnected harmony that is intrinsic to the work itself. 

For Suh, the line is a powerful metaphor, denoting more than just an edge or contour; it serves as an agent for the essence of life itself. Interweaving conceptual threads of creation, destruction and renewal, he reconfigures the past with his own unique aesthetic language, generating sculptural tapestries that embody mysteries that are “as deep as the source of all things”.

Line 12, 2022. Mixed media with Korean mulberry paper, 55 ⅞ x 55 ⅞ x 3 in. (142 x 142 x 7.5 cm).
Shout 5, 2017. Mixed media with Korean mulberry paper, 103 ½ x 77 ⅛ x 8 ⅝ in. (263 x 196 x 22 cm).
Lines of Travel 94, 2022. Mixed media with Korean mulberry paper 32 ⅗ x 52 ⅖ x 5 in. (83 x 133 x 13 cm).
Lines of Travel 99, 2022. Mixed media with Korean mulberry paper, 72 ½ x 59 ⅞ x 5 ½ in. (184 x 152 x 14 cm).
Line 33, 2022. Mixed media with Korean mulberry paper, 55 ⅞ x 55 ⅞ x 3 in. (142 x 142 x 7.5 cm).
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JUNG HEE CHOI: MANIFEST, UNMANIFEST XII

JUNE 8, 2022 – SEPTEMBER 15, 2022

Manifest, Unmanifest XII presents a site-specific sound and light environment in which various interdependent media collectively create an intersubjective space as a unified continuum. This twelfth edition in Choi’s series of environmental compositions exploring the concept of “Manifest, Unmanifest” features six recent works including large-scale multimedia installations, light point drawings and a sound environment, which completely envelop the listener’s body in the physical experience of sound vibrations and standing waves. Through a synthesis of light, incense and sound, Choi creates an immersive environment where opposites are not separate entities, but rather exist in synchronicity. The environmental composition’s constantly evolving aural-visual forms and patterns unveil a micro-macro dialogue between states of flux and stability and reveal the constantly changing, transient nature of the manifested reality.


ABOUT JUNG HEE CHOI

Jung Hee Choi is an artist and musician who works in video, performance, sound and multimedia installations. Her work has been presented in the United States, Europe, and Asia including FRAC Franche-Comté, France; Berliner Festspiele, Bundeskunsthalle, Germany; Dia Art Foundation, Guggenheim Museum and MELA Foundation Dream Houses, NYC; FRESH Festival, Bangkok; Korea Experimental Arts Festival. Choi is the senior disciple of La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela with the traditional Kirana gandha bandh red-thread ceremony taking place in 2003. In 2002 she co-founded, with Young and Zazeela, The Just Alap Raga Ensemble and has performed as a vocalist in every concert. Choi’s electroacoustic and modal improvisation ensemble, The Sundara All Star Band, premiered in 2015. The members include Young, Zazeela, Choi, Jon Catler, Hansford Rowe and Naren Budhkar. The New York Times listed Choi’s Tonecycle for Blues performed by her Sundara All Star Band as one of The Best Classical Music Performances of 2017. Since 2009 Choi’s long-term multimedia installations have been presented both solo and simultaneously with Young and Zazeela’s sound and light in the MELA Dream House creating a continuous collaborative environment. 


Jung Hee Choi, Composition 2006 #3 (Spirit), 2006, 60 x 72 in.; mixed media: graphite on black paper and video, Photo: Jung Hee Choi. Copyright ©Jung Hee Choi 2013.
Jung Hee Choi, Light Point Drawing 31–1, installation view, Udine, Italy, 2019. Photo: Dominique Philibert. Copyright ©Jung Hee Choi 2019.
Jung Hee Choi at her Ahata Anahata, Manifest Unmanifest XI, MELA Dream House, New York City, 2017. Copyright ©Jung Hee Choi 2017.
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Manifest, Unmanifest XII is produced in collaboration with the Donghwa Cultural Foundation and is sponsored in part by the MELA Foundation.