Hyun Ae Kang
HYUN AE KANG: 2nd Generation of Korean Dansaekhwa
Dansaekhwa – “monochrome painting” – is a style of abstract painting that arose during the second half of the 1970s, combining Korean aesthetics and Far Eastern philosophy with Western modernist practice. Dansaekhwa artists used the ideas of ancient eastern philosophical schools, in particular Buddhism and Taoism, to explain their work, which was, rather, an artistic act.
If you look closely at the details of the paintings of artists of this movement, you can see that the surface is composed of numerous small textures of the material, made by countless repeated application and removal of strokes. Such a repeated, long act of creation reminds the long and very painful meditation of a Buddhist monk in an attempt to achieve nirvana. This incomplete process of searching for the deepest truths of oriental philosophical teachings by “talking” the artist with the material and creating a “silent” picture is the main goal of this artistic movement.
With a respect to traditions, Hyun Ae Kang significantly complements and expands this direction with her personal artistic story.
Moving away from monochrome, Hyun, like the Dansaekhwa artists, technically gravitates to texturing and tactility. Rethinking the elements of the techniques of the predecessors and based on her twenty years of experience as a sculptor, the artist creates abstract paintings, covering the canvas with thick strokes of paint layer by layer, achieving the effect of clay and ceramic-like strokes that give the surface a specific texture that distinguished Dansaekhwa artists too.
A meditative practice is a second element that associates Hyun and Dansaekhwa. Dansaekhwa is a movement that not only focuses on the exploration of monochromic colors, but also explores how those colors induce a meditative state within an individual. Making her works multicolored, Hyun achieves the same effect of meditation. The process of creating works is accompanied by ecstatic experiences too. Being a deeply religious person, Hyun spends a lot of time in prayers before starting work. This is significantly affects the paintings themselves, during the creation of which the artist continues the dialogue with the sacred.
«Regarding my style, all the touches and strokes I use are inscriptions of the dialogues with the sacred. These inscriptions are based on Korean alphabet characters and glyphs. When I create my reliefs onto the canvases, I think of myself as a scribe that is carving messages from the heavenly force into the worldly materials of stones and pumice. And with these inscriptions, I hope viewers will be able to reflect upon them and gain insights they could have not achieved beforehand,» — Hyun Ae Kang