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Nothing is yours, Everything is you

 

Curator : Yonni Park, Jeeeun Hong

03.08 - 04.13, 2024

Seoul

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From March 8 to April 13, 2024, Tang Contemporary Art Seoul will present “Nothing is yours, Everything is you”, a duet exhibition by Kitti Narod and Ming Ying. These two artists have received worldwide attention for their unique painting styles.

 

The multi-persona phenomenon, which has appeared frequently in art and literature since the mid-20th century, is rooted in an effort to embrace multiculturalism and understand multiple identities. As our lifestyles have diversified in modern society, this phenomenon has become more widely accepted. In particular, the so-called “social media generation” expresses their identities through various channels and shows a greater tendency to respect diversity than older generations. This has become a trend that cannot be ignored in modern society. With this social background, the search for identity has taken a more important place in contemporary society and thus has become an important topic in the art world.

 

“Life is a journey of finding oneself.” - Albert Camus

 

Simple yet revealing, and colorful yet concealing. Interpreted in two contrasting languages, the characters in the works of Kitti Narod and Ming Ying are at once ourselves and complete strangers. The two artists’ contrasting explorations of how to perceive images in their works are in line with their own journeys of searching and questioning their identities.

 

A hugging couple, two friends, and people sharing their daily lives are depicted in Kitti Narod’s simple yet powerful language. His simple yet delicate approach immerses the viewer in the work, drawing them into the piece in an instant. The unique balance of colors and distorted shapes, combined with his skillful control, create a sophisticated interpretation of people, their actions, relationships, and the objects around them.

 

The images on the canvas, represented by carefully selected elements, appear serene. However, they radiate energy through the movement of the figures and the relationship between them. The contrast between the two different elements evokes subtle emotions in the viewer. The artist hopes to give a sense of universality to the characters in his works while paradoxically accentuating their specificity in order to approach and coexist with different identities and ways of life.

 

Glittering jewelry, dresses, and exaggerated hairstyles. Scenes from salons, balls, and other events reminiscent of Western upper-class culture are portrayed in a swirling, frantic manner. The dramatic depiction of seemingly extravagant appearances is a special way of capturing real-life interactions. Ming Ying places the main character on the stage she creates on her canvas. Then, she chooses the costume and creates the atmosphere. The characters who represent Western culture or Western colonialism on her canvas stages are dressed extravagantly as if they are unsparingly revealing everything about themselves.

 

However, when looking at the figures in the work, the viewer soon realizes that the characters are hidden beneath the striking materiality of the paint and the thick strokes of the scraper brush. The colorful but repetitive costumes, the discreet postures with restrained personal expressions, and the atmosphere that seems controlled to maintain elegance create a subtle conflict, creating tension in the work and inviting the viewer into the narrative. It takes a while to realize that the main characters are, in fact, faceless, lost in the glamour. The prominent materiality of Ming Ying’s paintings immerses the viewer in her work, creating a gap in time before the identity and essence of the subjects, hidden by the glamour, is recognized. Observing the anonymous figures in glamorous Western social gatherings is the artist’s ongoing exploration of her identity as a foreigner and an Asian living in the West. It is also our own search for identity through social belonging.

 

The figures in Kitti Narod’s and Ming Ying’s works represent the characteristics, symbolism, and aesthetic elements of cultures and groups in different societies. The contrasting expressive styles and unique perspectives presented by their works amplify their messages. Through this exhibition, we hope you can join the artists on their journey to explore the meaning and value of human life through a deep reflection on identity, delicately reflecting the existentialist anguish of individuals.

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Works

Wednesday Dance Acrylic on canvas 200 x 200 cm (100 x 100 x 4P) 2023

Yoga Cat Acrylic on canvas Diameter : 120cm 2023

The Space and Time We Met Acrylic on canvas 160 x 160 cm 2024

Keep Dancing Acrylic on canvas 160 x 140 cm 2024

Red Romance Acrylic on canvas 150 x 120 cm 2024

Kiss Kiss Kiss Acrylic on canvas 160 x 160 cm 2024

Play Acrylic on canvas 120 x 120 cm 2023

Splashes Acrylic on canvas 160 x 160 cm 2023

Pull Up Acrylic on canvas 150 x 120 cm 2023

Touch Acrylic on canvas 160 x 160 cm 2023

Birds in the Sky, Crowds on the Ground Acrylic on canvas 120 x 120 cm 2023

Last Night Acrylic on canvas 120 x 120 cm 2023

In the Woods Acrylic on canvas 150 x 240 cm 2024

The Feeling Never Wears Thin Oil on canvas 121 x 167 cm 2024

Patron Saint Oil on canvas 137 x 152 cm 2024

Submerged in the Wild, Listening to Lyrics of Nature Oil on canvas 127 x 106 cm 2024

Once in a Blue Moon Oil on canvas 167 x 127 cm 2024

Back to the Spotlight Oil on canvas 160 x 190 cm 2024

On the Way to the Integration Oil on canvas 121 x 137 cm 2024

Night's Secret Oil on canvas 116 x 127 cm 2024

Fragrance Pervades Oil on canvas 152 x 137 cm 2024

More and More as Times Goes By Oil on canvas 111 x 121 cm 2024

Commitment Under the Moonlight Oil on canvas 160 x 190 cm 2024

Artist
Artist
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Ming Ying

b. 1995, based in London.

Ming Ying is known for her vivid and semi-abstract paintings of groups and individuals within domestic and public settings. As a London-based artist who was born in Beijing, China. Ming reflects predominance of western cultures, whilst also conveying the social phenomena of detachment, bewilderment and aspiration that arises out of the process of western integration for those from different cultural backgrounds. 

In recent years her work have been awarded and shortlisted for a number of prestigious prizes including: First prize of “Effect Edge” International Juried Exhibition(2019); Winner of Khojaly Peace Prize for Art (2017); Chadwell Award (2020) Lynn Painter-Stainer Prize (2018); Ashurst Emerging artist prize (2018).

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Kitti Narod

b. 1976, based in Thailand.

Kitti Narod trained at Wittayalai Pohchang Art College, Bangkok, from 1996 - 1998, and later obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree from the Rajamonkong Institute of Technology in 2000. He has exhibited extensively both domestically and internationally, including in Singapore, London, Bath, Edinburgh, Manchester, Dublin, Cork, Montreal, and Melbourne.

 

Kitti Narod creates paintings that convey a sense of joy and optimism through gentle and warm portrayals of daily life and human relationships. In his paintings, everyone and everything exist together in a utopia. This notion may seem unrealistic to some, especially during an era of social division, but the artist’s work tries to remind us to appreciate the simple pleasures and raise attention to everyday mundane matters. In which, euphoric feelings will not seem so unattainable. The artist considers his works to be an intersection for diversity, where all the physical and spiritual are equal.

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