To Mark Yoon Sang-chun’s Reflected Pine Trees Exhibition
Wang Wei painted a picture featuring plum blossoms flowering in spring and chrysanthemums blooming in the fall. It’s not caused by his delusion of seasons, but depicts a new aesthetic world by depicting incongruous objects on the same plane. Critics admired his painting, singing like a poem. A baby bird in rain remains in an unsheltered nest, while a mother bird wanders in search of food. Yoon Sang-chun conveys a tale by depicting birds not living in a pine tree, along with pine trees.
For artists today, art is a social activity and a product of experience and memory. A wide gap and conflict between art and life for artists appears in his brief grumbling note. Amid this conflict, represented in his work, Yoon lives and works more fiercely than many others. Through a mismatch between two heterogeneous elements, pine trees, traditional natural subject matter and metallic car bonnets, a symbol of modern convenience, his work is a self-portrait of Korean people in their 40s who have adapted themselves to political unrest, black-and-white logic, and cultural gaps between regions caused by industrialization.
Metaphors in Life and Reality, Pine Tree and Bonnet
For two years Yoon has painted pine tree images on metallic car bonnets. For the artist, the pine tree is a symbol of a previous life(the past, or tradition), while the bonnet is a metaphor for modern convenience(reality, or contemporary times). After he experimented with diverse subject matter and techniques, and since his second solo show, Yoon has been engrossed in tableau. His ability as an artist has thus been properly credited. Irrespective of this, he has constantly pursued change in his work. Yoon works for and against ruts and custom. Since his 5th solo show, Reflected Pine Trees, Yoon sought change. This exhibition is its extension. On display are 20 artworks including tableaus and artworks using car bonnets. Especially in Pine Tree – Art, he depicts a pine tree forest on a hood grill which he designed and manufactured in a realistic manner, implying his verve and detailed work process.
The Overlap of Objects and Images
Yoon’s recent work is characterized by the overlap of a bonnet image with another image. Noting the aesthetic beauty of the bonnet itself, he overlaps two-dimensional images with bonnet’s three-dimensional form. (In this process he conducts an ardent study of everyday, modern materials.) Another object is put on a pine tree image rendered on the bonnet in a hyper-realistic manner. In other words, Yoon overlaps a bonnet as an object with a pine tree image as a painting, and overlaps once again with another image fusing them in a hyper-realistic manner. In addition, he paints images and silhouettes stemmed from fragmentary memories, or collages pine tree-shaped mirror pieces in overlapped images. The overlap of images constantly appearing in Yoon’s work differs from that of objects for conventional illusions.
The overlap of objects has an attribute to remove part of objects, and simultaneously incorporate them visually. On the other hand, the multiple overlaps of images is the technique difficult to address in expressing perfect physical properties of an object. This technique is called ‘overlap’ in photography and ‘dissolve’ in video arts. Depaysement in fine arts practiced by surrealists is akin to this technique.
Appropriating a video technique like ‘dissolve’ to imply a close connection between space and time, Yoon harmonizes two apparently heterogeneous elements, bonnet and pine tree. Properly utilizing distortion in form caused by a refract bonnet, he further reinforces the completeness of form by solidifying a sense of unity between the bonnet and pine tree, instead of weakening their individuality.
Yoon is the artist of pine trees. Whether intended or not, the aura of pine trees is weakened in his recent bonnet work, underscoring the beauty of form. It is hard to say this change is good or bad since it is a process of exploration and change, proving his passion for art.