Diamond Mountain – Electronic Nostalgia / Soluna Fine Art / Hong Kong / Apr 3 – Aug 1, 2020 / Valencia Tong /
With potted plants at the entrance and green chequered tiles on the second storey, the gallery space at Soluna Fine Art exuded an aura of playfulness. On view at the gallery was Korean artist Kim Young-Hun’s solo show Diamond Mountain – Electronic Nostalgia. The artist’s colour-saturated paintings blend the aesthetics of the analogue and the digital, the philosophical and the technological, and the historical and the futuristic. His abstract canvases explore the disorientation brought about by the blurred boundaries between the virtual, digital world and our real lives. The result is a mishmash of traditional Korean landscapes, glitchy geometrical patterns and Van Gogh-like oscillating lines, which recall interference on television screens.
Although the paintings in the artist’s oeuvre allude to forms of technology that are ubiquitous in our lives, the artist also pays tribute to history, citing the Buddhist Diamond Sutra as his inspiration. To achieve enlightenment, one has to shatter illusions and free oneself from attachment, but the artist’s nostalgia for the past is expressed in his Electronic Nostalgia series, which he has built on for over 10 years, celebrating the vitality of life while feeling sentimental about the analogue world. This emphasis on spirituality is further echoed by his inclusion of traditional symbols such as mountains, adapted to create a new visual language for today, in works like p2012-Electronic Nostalgia. Situated among radiating webs of pink, purple and grey curved lines, juxtaposed against vertical rectangular tubes in gradients in the background, the mountains are painted as if they were melting soundwaves. They are depicted in layers using the traditional Korean painting technique hyukpil.
Gazing at the pulsating brushstrokes created by the artist becomes a sensory experience reminiscent of synesthesia as much as a liberation of the mind from altered perceptions. In Cloud Map-p1315r, Kim portrays a landscape scenery in a dreamlike manner using a pastel colour palette. Liquid clouds flow downwards in surreal ways among mountains hovering in mid-air. Some paintings on display at the exhibition have reached a higher level of abstraction, notable for the absence of any recognisable symbols. p2022-Electronic Nostalgia features blocks of patterns collaged together, with each area showing different textures. Alternating bands of neon pink and green, in a variety of thicknesses, draw the eye with contrasting colours. The uneven, hand-drawn curved lines which divide each section give the tech-themed work a human touch: something that the 1s and 0s of binary codes cannot replace.
In a world where rapid development has left us with no choice but to embrace technology, it is more important than ever to retrace our roots and contemplate our place in the world. By referencing the Diamond Mountain, an important Korean cultural symbol, the artist leaves his mark in his work and tells the story of the experiences that shape who he is today. While the future is certainly going to be digital, knowledge of the past enriches our lives.
Image: Cloud Map-p1315r by Kim Young-Hun. Oil on linen, 112 x 162 cm, 2013. Courtesy the artist and Soluna Fine Art.
Soluna Fine Art.的入口處放置的盆栽，再加上二樓的綠色方格瓷磚地板，使整個展覽空間玩味濃厚，展出的是韓國藝術家金永憲的個人展覽「金剛山：電子鄉愁」。金氏飽含色彩的油畫，混合模擬和數碼、哲學和科技，及歷史和未來主義的美學。他抽象的畫作探索一份迷失感，那是由虛擬和數碼世界、及我們的真實生活之間的模糊界線所帶來。在畫布上交織出韓國傳統山水、振動的幾何圖案、及如梵高畫筆下的富動感線條，令人想起昔日電視熒幕受干擾時的畫面。
雖然藝術家的畫作蘊含著我們生活中無所不在的科技形態，但他亦透過佛教金剛經為靈感來源來向歷史致敬。人要達到開悟的境界，必須打破幻象，才能夠脫離枷鎖；可是，藝術家創作逾十年的《電子鄉愁》 系列作品中，卻流露他對昔日的追懷；即使對類比世界有所懷緬，但作品亦讚頌生命的活力。金氏運用傳統象徵符號，例如山脈，進一步探索心靈境界，這些符號經調整後，建構出一套適合現今的視覺語言，就如在作品《p2012-Electronic Nostalgia》。置於由粉紅、紫和灰色曲線形成的網，與背景中多個不同坡度的縱向矩形狀的管塊並置，多座山以韓國傳統的繪畫技術「革筆畫」(Hyukpil) 分層描繪，彷彿是一堆正在融化的聲波條紋。
凝視著藝術家的脈動筆觸是一趟能激起藝術聯覺的感官體驗，同樣亦透過已改變的感知中得到思想上的解脫。在作品《Cloud Map-p1315r》，金氏以柔和的色調繪畫出如夢似幻的景色，如流水的雲朵在山脈之間，半空之中，以超現實的形態往下流動。展覽中的一些畫作達至更深層的抽象意境，值得注意的是它們沒帶有任何可識別的象徵。《p2022-Electronic Nostalgia》展現多塊拼湊在一起的圖案，每個部份卻有著不同的質感。霓虹粉紅色和綠色的交替地帶，以多種厚度突出對比色彩。不整齊的手繪曲線把每個層面劃分起來，讓以科技為主題的作品帶有人性化的一面：這是二元碼中的 「1」 和「0」 無法取代。