Into the Flowing Formless
St. Hippolyt, St. Pölten, Austria
In my paintings, thin layers of lines and colors are applied repetitively, and they are sometimes washed away when necessary. The technique of my paintings is based on ‘Jangji gibeop (method of long-pulp paper)’, one of the traditional methods of Korean paintings. This technique is characterized by the repetitive overlap of thin colors and lines. However, unlike the traditional method, my painting does not aim at particular objects of daily life. I go consciously with the flow of lines and colors on the paper, free from the concrete picture in my head. As like the prayer such a process requires patience and innocent faith, till the painting space acquires the elaborate composition out of accumulated layers of lines and colors. I observe forms that are naturally produced by accidental effects of painting materials, and spontaneously cope with them. While I repeat acts of ‘making and destroying’, some concrete forms are naturally constructed. When a painting shows particular forms, but does not give any subtle sound, it needs further laborious process to attain subtle sounds beyond fragmentary forms. The concrete forms should transcend their fragmentary nature, and the fragmentary forms should inevitably undergo the process of demolition for the integral music of a painting. The painting should embody the lively sound of Life beyond pictorial forms, yet not being cut off from the sensual forms.
The tension between forms and the formlessness carries out the creative process in my paintings. It is the ‘will’ of the formless to express itself and the desire of individual forms to return to the formless Origin that transform painting space from the physical level to the spiritual level. When the individual forms transcend their fragmentary nature, in other words, when the individual parts melt into formless space, I experience that the painting is close to the first inspiration, which is formless. The concrete forms which are naturally born out of flowing lines and colors reflect the flow of energy and the flow of light. Concrete forms make us easier to enter painting space, because we exist not only as flow of energy but also as solidified body. Without these concrete existences, the energy or the light remains abstract and it is too far from us to be in touch. For me, painting space and pictorial images in the paintings should bring together the abstract Life Principle and our breath.
I paint speaking to myself: Let yourself jump into the pool of inspiration, the archaic spring of Life!
Vienna, October 2011