Hwang Gyung-hyun


Waiting for the Next Picture _ Sim So-mi(2017) 2019-12-09

Waiting for the Next Picture

Fresh Natural Flowers of the Promising Artists of Gyeonggi and Their Progressiveness - Something New(2017)


Sim, So-mi (independent curator)

Translator by The Gyeonggi Cultural Foundation


Floor painting in the mirror room Hwang Gyunghyun is an artist that paints. He uses the conte to draw a clearly black and white shaded urban landscape on paper. He also held a solo exhibition of his recent works at an exhibition hall in Seoul this summer. However, if you are looking at the work he has been doing recently, the existence of the picture seems to be a little at stake. In the

room where the workspace is separated due to the dirt powder of the conte, you do not see the dirt powder blowing away as it did before. Instead, his workspace is filled with the mirrored sheet rolls and the masking tape marks that divide the floor into grids. From the process of preparing a new work, I could not help but have suspicions. The work of “Pyeong(m²)” to be exhibited in this exhibition has the form of a 'mirror room' surrounded by a mirror sheet. The walls and floor of the exhibition hall of approximately 100 m², or 30 Pyeong, are finished with a mirror sheet of the mirror effect as a whole. In this space, there is no picture hung on the wall. The place where the picture is located behind this long wall is the floor of the exhibition hall. Why would he cover a white wall with a sheet of paper and place the picture on to the floor? Did he even announce a self denial as a painter?


In order to talk about the new work of “Pyeong(Squaremeter),” it is necessary to look at “Post Horse(Stroller),” which was the original plan. “Post Horse(Stroller)” portrays the night view of the city and the appearance of the crowd heading towards some direction. It is a work of drawing people who are hurrying to the footsteps under the growing lights, which conveys the unbearableness of the urban space at the same time. During the exhibition, he planned to place paintings on the walls and floor of the exhibition hall. I can not help but wonder how the space where the picture was centered turned into a mirror room. In this background, the personal exhibition of "Stroll on the City (2017)" was held. As the frames of paintings were transformed in three dimensions or placed on the floor in the last exhibition, he decided to try a new experiment rather than repeating the same pattern on his new works. This transition reflects the inner form that the painter has dealt with and the anxiety about the external form. In his paintings, the inner form refers to a way of rubbing a traditional drawing material, called conte, on paper and fixing it on the screen one by one. In the external form, the influence and mutual relationship between perception and experience in the contemporary environment are considered. Observations of the city are a painter's point of view and opinions on the standardized daily life. This gaze goes beyond the city landscape and links with the formal conditions of the world as well as the frame of the world, further leading to the concerns about the external form of painting.


The consideration of contemporaneity is positively reflected in other media works

that have been separate from his painting work. Drawing a picture, the artist has been presenting video and installation work for the time change and the social context from time to time. Some of his works go beyond the physical and non-physical spaces such as “Karaoke Project,” “Ark(Void Drawing)” and “Flyer(らす)” which were introduced in 2016, which form a close relationship of influence with the new work of “Pyeong(Squaremeter).” Among these, “Ark(Void Drawing)” is a work that has a formal relationship with “Pyeong(Squaremeter).” The artist places a mirror sheet on the floor in the exhibition hall and installs a lighting on

the floor to realize the space of the ark where the light is scattered splendidly. It is the artist's glowing stick performance that will be highlighted through this work. The artist with a glowing stick performs a laser drilling of the surface of the mirror and experimented with non-material painting on the surface. The mirror room in “Pyeong(Squaremeter)” is not as fancy or comedy as “The Ark.” Rather, it floats in the space, but eventually there is a fuzzy and heavy air that can not be forced to fall in gravity. This weight contains the conditions of the existence of the painting which can not be lightened even through the non-material.


At the boundary between what is virtual and the reality


The virtual world is so deep in the lives of people today that this word is awkward, and even takes on a subversive position in relation to the reality. The virtual world of online has now become a space for practice and expression, mediating relationships that are impossible in the real world. The social network caused by the SNSs has been expanding and material the virtual into

the real relationship. This virtual screen illuminates me, the surroundings, the society and the world, and is operating with a more lively reality than the reality today. How can a picture exist for a modern man who slips into another world instantly through the window of the screen? The screen now mediates people as well as images, and acts as another realm of the reality. In this exhibition, the space of illusion built through the mirror room is metaphorical of the virtual world converted into the materialized surface.


In “Pyeong(Squaremeter),“ the situation of this gap between virtual and reality, contemporary artist and painter is explored spatially. The painting on the floor is placed in an area of 3.3(1 Pyeong(Squaremeter)) in the middle of the floor of the exhibition hall. The grid of 3x3 cells in which the figure is placed is based on 9 panels optimized for Instagram. The area of the figure is a grid that extends the unit of 'Pyeong(Squaremeter),' symbolically expressing the concept of 'Pyeong(Squaremeter)' as the minimum area to live in the real world. Thus, the artist suggests a realistic residential unit that can not be reached between the virtual and the reality, and attempts to reside at this boundary. Visitors entering the exhibition hall will be able to enjoy the space with the symbolic 'Pyeong(Squaremeter)' grid and paintings on the wall without looking at their own figure and the rest of the others. The artist lays down on the floor the painted desire of a painted material world, as a painter who has to bring out realistic immersion toward it. In this exhibition, he does not ask the audience to concentrate and rather immerse himself in the painting. In this floating space, the picture is placed on the floor where the grid of the real world and the virtual world overlap, yet it leaves behind a sorrow that is arranged by the concept. To the visitors surrounded by the illusion of a mirror, their self-image will attract more attention than the presence of a floor painting.


The words written by the artist on this work - "Painting on the boundary between the reality and the unreality" - portray an experiment of a young painter struggling between this contemporaneousity and the formal conditions of painting. The floor paintings in a small mirror room will ironically reveal the conditions of the existence of paintings that can not match the optimized order of the virtual space. The painting on the floor indicates his own state of being unable to

float, that is to say, his being permanently suspended, put on hold, and waiting. The artist must reveal the existence of painting by thinking about the state of 'Being distant' such as gap, distance, and blank between the virtual and the reality. Looking down on the floor picture from a distance like a bird's

eye view, the gaze floats up again by the unstable light that emanates from the screen. The eyes that can not be fixated on the floor, the ground, the reality, and the picture are constantly chasing the light of the screen that

logs into the real world and the virtual world. I try to imagine the poem of a poet while waiting for the "coming picture" that has not come yet. "What is he not rushing for? The world does not exist. I must bear you."



1) The 'painting to come' that I have expressed has a dual meaning. This is a reference to a picture that did not see the finished work, and it is an expression that imagines the existence of a picture in the exhibition hall. This critique is based on three meetings and

interviews held between July and September 2017, before Hwang Gyunghyun's new work was completed. I have to imagine the 'mirror room and floor painting' to be completed at the time of the installation of the exhibition. If I am thinking too far away from the actual work, I would like to see it as a product of a critic who imagined the work of a virtual world as one in a real world.

2) The poem quoted in the main text is a sentence of the poet Paul Celan's poem entitled "Grosse, glühende Wölbung (1967).“