Tang Contemporary Art Seoul presents Unpack Reveal Unleash, a new exhibition with 7 different artists – Anouk Lamm Anouk, Diren Lee, Guillermo Lorca, Jangkoal, Jonas Burgert, Olga Esther, and YoonHyup – from October 20 to November 25, 2023.
While facing artworks in the exhibition hall, which are created by different artists with different life experiences and insights, you could listen to the stories hidden inside and could feel the presence of contemporary artists. You will finally find yourself looking at the world with a different point of view, along with the artists’ point of views.
Chapter 1. Confronting Prejudice | Anouk Lamm Anouk, Olga Esther
Anouk Lamm Anouk and Olga Esther focus on prejudice and social gaze. They both talk about how social standards and judgements brought from social gaze could form collective unconsciousness and stay along with them. They also pose a question: How could we all live together and create a symbiosis relationship in this judgmental society full of prejudice?
A protagonist in Olga Esther’s artworks is a princess who longs for freedom from the eyes of others and the norms of the world. In the two artworks introduced in the exhibition, a frog and a toad can be found. These creatures, which represent the expectation of an attractive prince, serve as allegories to emphasize how these romantic myths are deeply rooted in the symbolic structure of women.
In addition, Anouk Lamm Anouk expands the subject to the discourse of symbiosis through animals such as sheep and horses, going further from stories of self-awareness, social gaze, and prejudice expressed in human bodies and abstract images.
Chapter 2. How to Accept, Reinterpret, and Record the World | Jangkoal, YoonHyup
Can you be sure that the memory you have now is a precise and accurate reflection of the reality at that time? Most memories are idealized and exist as more powerful images and emotions. Memories of pain are idealized as well, and sometimes they are even diluted over time. Creating complex senses and nostalgia through the restoration of memories stimulated various emotions. Sometimes the procedure of restoring memories heals oneself, and sometimes it offers positive and pleasant energy for one to move forward.
Through the artworks, which feature a woman and a cat together, Jangkoal takes positive memories from her personal life to create a peaceful space where the fascinating protagonist exists and shares this space with the audience. Furthermore, YoonHyup captures the color of air, the flow of energy, and the pieces of emotion of each country and city with his own color and rhythm. As soon as the breath of the audience and YoonHyup matches while looking at the space reinterpreted by him, memories revive as present emotions, and the energy of those emotions in memories flows again.
Chapter 3. The Unconscious World | Jonas Burgert, Guillermo Lorca, Diren Lee
Will the unconscious world let us be freer? As you explore the world created by artists, you will feel as if you are entering their unconscious world or your unconscious world. How would the real world look like when seen from the unconscious world? Let’s follow the eyes of artists who look at reality by embodying the unconscious world.
It is not easy to guess the age nor gender of the protagonist in a theater-like artworks of Jonas Burgert. Looking at the protagonist who seems like an existing figure, you could feel various emotions. When facing diverse and complicated emotions– such as a fear of the unexpected, a challenging and enterprising mind to the unknown, sadness that couldn’t be hidden–, you will feel as if you are in the unconscious world of Burgert, full of consideration of life.
On the other hand, Guillermo Lorca reinterprets traditional painting styles, for instance the Baroque, in a modern manner. Lorca explores fundamental emotions of humans, and juxtapose realistic elements with surreal elements in his paintings. This narrative makes balance and creates multifaceted meaning to embody his fantasy and let the audience to feel the expansion of time and space. His beautiful yet grotesque artworks are like fairytales. He illustrates he can communicate across countries and languages through these fairytale-like images.
The shining eyes of the protagonist in Diren Lee’s work make her unconscious world a more interesting place. Lee leads the audience to various worlds with each and every artwork, and this time she is leading us to the world of fire, water, and wind. While finding each of the elements inside the artworks, you will be able to meet the protagonists who seize the center of the world created by Lee. These protagonists of the artworks are the important medium that connects oneself of the unconscious world and of the real world.
Through art, sometimes we face huge discourse, and sometimes we get to heal our inner self. It is wonderful to be able to join the epic that confronts contemporary problems within the flow of contemporary art. However, even if it is not something so grand, it would be meaningful enough if we could look at the places where the artists are looking at, share their point of views, thoughts, minds, and feel the changes in the surrounding air for a while and breathe in a different manner.
There's a Toad on My Head Oil on canvas 40 x 30 cm 2023
Same Place, Different Time Acrylic on canvas 200.6 x 160 cm 2023
Chaser Acrylic on canvas 200.6 x 160 cm 2023
Rush Acrylic on canvas 114.3 x 162.5 cm 2023
New Chapter Acrylic on canvas 114.3 x 162.5 cm 2023
Love Nest Acrylic on mulberry paper mounted on woodpanel 145.5 x 112 cm 2023
Strange and Beautiful Shadows Acrylic on canvas 162.2 x 130.3 cm 2023
In the Flames Acrylic on canvas 162.2 x 130.3 cm 2023
Night of Wind Acrylic on canvas 162.2 x 130.3 cm 2023
Once upon a Time There Was a Rabbit That Was Not a Rabbit Oil on canvas 70 x 50 cm 2023
Foreground Acrylic on mulberry mounted on woodpanel 145.5 x 112 cm 2023
While You Wait for the Others Acrylic on mulberry paper mounted on woodpanel 112 x 145.5 cm 2023
Deus Ex Machina Acrylic on mulberry paper mounted on woodpanel 112 x 145.5 cm 2023
Human/Horse N°2 Oil on canvas 66 x 61cm 2023
Bébé N°3 Oil on canvas 70 x 50 cm 2023
Kumkums N°2 Oil on canvas 130 x 70 cm 2023
Girl Cares N°4 Oil on canvas 140 x 120 cm 2023
Judith's Youth Oil on canvas 198 x 204 cm 2023
Reichweich Oil on canvas 90 x 80 cm 2023
Traue Oil on canvas 90 x 80 cm 2023
I Miss the Place Where I Am From N°3 Oil on canvas 200 x 150cm each (Diptych) 2023
Anouk Lamm Anouk
b. 1992, Vienna.
Anouk Lamm Anouk is artistic practice spans painting, drawing, sculpture, installation, and writing. Their manifesto claims: “No Age, No Gender, No Origin”, or as they say: “I am no one I am nothing” which could be a reference to their embedment in Zen Buddhism. Anouk identifies as trans-non-binary and by virtue of this and living as a Person with autism, it is crucial to them to rid themselves of the external attributions and labels that come from normative society in order both to see and encounter others without the violence of classification and anticipation, to be truly open. The starting point of their paintings is the raw linen, the canvases itself is crucial. The unprimed frontside of the linen is a living part of their works and becomes a connecting visual element across several series. Their colour palette is strictly limited, most often to earthy colours, hues of black and off-white are also present; reduction is key. Anouk works both in series and independently of series – some paintings are solely abstract, while others are predominantly figurative – all of which is connected by unique handwriting and gestural strokes. Text or text fragments are also part of their practices. The texts are intentionally unobtrusive, sometimes they require viewers to look for them. These give a hint or raise questions. Anouk’s other bodies of works – “The Void is My Temple” and “Mädchen kümmert sich/girl cares” – as well as much of their earliest works, frequently included animals or animal-like hybrids that imagined a world absent of humans and their anthropocentric systems. In 2021, Anouk was awarded with the Main Prize of the Strabag Art Award International. They are listed as one of the 3 most influential young artists in Austria.
b. 1983, South Korea.
Diren Lee builds a view on the world that cannot be explained by just one series of works. By releasing new series, mixing, and rebuilding it with her previous one, she creates her own world. The inner world created to heal her pain now describes her unique characters and symbolism through the homage of classical myths and orientalism. All her works is painted on canvas with a single brush, and such process is also linked to her desire to give the characters a living and breathing vitality. Diren is loved by public and art lovers through many collaborations and design products with businesses in Korea.
Diren Lee analyzes stories of unconsciousness through dreams beyond self-consciousness, then expresses the essence of consciousness on canvas. All the characters in her dream are parts of spiritual energy. The characters are expressed as connected creatures, stressing the meaning of “one-being”. Her previous works concentrate on analyzing inner scars, trying to expose and overcome her inner complex through the interpretation of dreams and unconsciousness. Her works refer to the journey of time during which she experiences mental trauma resulting from failure or humiliation and overcome emotions that led to anxiety. From this point on, her work begins to show a comfortable looking eyes and soft colors, telling the story of overcoming with the sweet and beautiful fruits that we meet after enduring suffering. She expresses her desire to convey comfort and warmth by hugging and making eye contact.
b. 1984, Chile.
Guillermo Lorca García Huidobro is a well-renowned painter of classical oil. Early paintings have been successfully exposed and sold through important art exhibitions, including The Asprey Exhibition in London and the exhibition “The eternal life” in the most important museum in Chile. On these days, he's on collaborations with the famous actioner Simon de Pury, art galleries, and museums, most of which are concentrated in Europe. Currently exposing in the MOCO Museum in Barcelona, Spain. Giant yellow-eyed cats, angelic girls, and unknown creatures make up the haunting and sensual world of Guillermo Lorca. Mixing magic and realism, the young Chilean Contemporary artist creates large-scale oil paintings loaded with surreal narratives and dreamlike sequences. Within each of his drama-filled scenes, there is a dark balance of power and competition between nature and humankind. As a child, he received a book of fairy tales with illustrations by the Romantic painter Gustave Doré. He has used it to inspire his haunting world of beauty, horror, desire, fear, luxury, paranoia, and pleasure.
"My personality definitely finds its voice through paintings. It is a journey through the unconscious sensations that have been present in my life." - Guillermo Lorca
The undeniably unique style of Guillermo Lorca Garcia, the artist, comes from studied skill by Old Master Painters, taking influence from Renaissance and Baroque periods.
b. 1989, South Korea.
Jang Koal is a self-taught artist who has possessed a deep love for drawing from a young age. Growing up in the care of her grandparents, she was often brought along when visiting Buddhist temples. Here she became acquainted with the striking traditional art that covers the temples' exterior and interior, which sparked a fascination for their colourful depictions and enigmatic atmosphere. These early impressions continue to reverberate in her present-day artistic practice; however, the now Seoul-based artist has pushed on to explore more contemporary themes and methods of working on hanji, a traditional Korean paper. Utilizing modern materials and techniques, she works with contrasting vivid, solid colour sections against intricate patterns and constructs elegant imagery in which female figures are immersed in an imaginary parallel world filled with cats, flowers, and nature. Sourcing positive memories from her personal life, Jang addresses seemingly mundane and peaceful scenes but simultaneously touches on subjects that she is only able to express without restrictions through painting. Mixing the surreal, often ambiguous, or mystical atmospheres with bright colours and harmonious lines and compositions, she is able to create a captivating tension in which her subjects seem to feel most comfortable.
b. 1969, Berlin.
Jonas Burgert paints a stage every time that he lifts his brush: with every stroke, with every composition. His works depict the inexhaustible theatre play that Burgert considers to be human existence: man’s need to make sense of his purpose in life. It is a quest that seems inconclusive, but which opens doors to every sphere of reasoning, imagination and desire. Oversized canvases are crowded with fantastical figures of different proportions. Jonas Burgert graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts, Berlin, in 1996 and consecutively studied for a postgraduate title (Meisterschueler) under Professor Dieter Hacker in Berlin. Since 1998, his work has been on view in numerous group shows around the world, including “Geschichtenerzaehler”, Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg, 2003, and “Triumph of Painting Part VI” , London’s Saatchi Gallery, 2006. Since 2006 Burgert’s work has been on view in solo exhibitions around the world.
b. 1975, Valencia.
Olga Esther was born on January 2, 1975 in Valencia just when Franco's dictatorship was in its final stage. Her parents were activists of the anti-fascist movement, defenders of liberties and social justice, an aspect that has had a great influence on their way of understanding life and also art.
Being still very young, the family leaves the city, looking for a different way of life, and moves to the countryside. Surrounded by nature, her love for animals begins. Her house becomes a refuge for abandoned animals. There she lives with dogs, cats, rabbits, geese, chickens, ducks, hamsters ... As she is an only daughter and without other children to play with, she would collect fallen sparrows from the ground and walk snails, play with the frogs and feed ants.
This little girl with an extremely timid character finds when reading, a world to submerge in. She reads with passion all kinds of books that she finds in the home library; but it will be fantasy and science fiction the literary genre that she would fall in love with.
b. 1982, South Korea.
Yoon Hyup is a New York based artist, born in Seoul, South Korea in 1982.
He grew up with studying violin and skateboarding since his childhood. He had ambitions to design skateboards, but once he discovered painting it became his new focus. In early 2000s, he began to improvise without sketch during the process of mural and live paintings, which is became an important starting point for the present way of expression. In his work, Yoon Hyup freely uses lines and dots to draw a minimalistic work from a unique perspective.
Components of various cultures, he has experienced, are strongly reflected in his works. The rhythm & improvisation in music, the flexibility & radical perspective in various cultures are some of the creative inputs that transform into lines, dots, “rhythms” and colors in his works. A combination of these elements powers the creation of unique abstract paintings.