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.