In between layers (Han Sungpil)

Inauguración: 1 de Junio de 2011


Han Sungpil, has soaked in epistemological pleasure and illusionary effect from the confusion between reality (real) and representation (fake) through the series “Façade”, … A number of the “façades” of buildings can be divided into two types. First, a temporary façade that takes the place of the real façade in shabby condition by covering it during renovation work. Second, a permanent façade that becomes part of a building from the beginning. The former is fleeting and finite in that it will dissappear when theconstruction is complete. At the same time, it plays as a mask that conceals the real appearance. Such a façade is an imitation that looks more real than the original as it not only resembles the real object but looks more time-worn. Meanwhile, the latter involves “mural” work on the walls of monotonous and tedious buildings, which was given autonomy regardless of shape or structure. This can also function as public art….

Let’s look at some examples where “trompe-l’oeil”, an art technique creating optical illusion, becomes part of construction:

“Back to the Future” illustrates an eccentric image beyond common sense. What is the most remarkable is a horse-drawn carriage rushing out from between two buildings. A couple of white horses are galloping down the street while steam gushes out of a rear engine. The street lamp emitting light from the left buildings appears to be a long exposure. Thus, it is easy to recognize that the darting wagon is a painting on the wall, not a real object captured instantly. Meanwhile, the boundary between the real and virtual worlds is blurred in this delicate combination of present and past and of moment and perpetuality. The ladder placed vertically between the buildings must be a painting. What is the curved structure with the ladder? And what is the rear appearance of the building behind the structure? To what extent is the external wall of the left building (which is the backdrop of the carriage) real? One can experience visual pleasure from incomplete reality where a genuine –looking imitation (to the extent that it is hard to determine the boundarybetween the real and the fake), or the fake shameless assertion, cannot be overlooked.

On the other hand, the entire painting turns out to be a genuine “trompe-l’oeil” bt maximizing its falsehood. In this case, ilussion disappears in a sense because the gap with reality is so wide that its presence (reality of the painting) it’s not convincing any more. “Swimming in the Sky” is such a case. The effect of illusion has vanished and only visual pleasure remains. On the gigantic wall, blue figures of diverse shapes were drawn and a woman with goggles in a rectangular shape is swimming idly in the wáter. In this regard, the wall plays as a huge pool. The blue backdrop above the wall is obviously the sky, but it gives an impession that the sky is linked with the blu background beneath it. But the enormeous  wáter drops hanging on the wall are grotesque, contributing to the falsification of the entire scene. The blues pace within the wall, bordering with the sky, is not realistic, either. Is this space in the sky or wáter?. Is the woman flying in the sky or swimming in the ocean? Where is the boundary of the sky and the wáter? These suspicions make this scene a preposterous fabrication.

Now the artista acts as a magician who opens up a world of images on the wall of a self¡-closed building as you can see in “The Ivy Space”. On the ivy-covered wall of a brick building “SPACE” is placaed a large structure made of photographs of indoor space. This structure was designed by the artista to relieve a cramped feeling from walls and recover the original meaning of architecture: “space”. Space is not supposed to be closed and two-dimensional, but the wall of SPACE is closed. In order to ovrcome this limit of the self-contradictory building, the artista transformed the flat wall into a three-dimensional  space by attaching pictures taken here and there in internal space. This way the building “SPACE” becomes a transparent space.  Although this is not technically a “physical” space, thanks to the magic of analogy we can see a solid space on the flat surface. Over the clear window, the scenery on the other side is penetrated and the office, the study and stairs are seen.

Han Sungpil has persistently pursued the relationship of concepts that arae closely associated with visual arts –resemblance vs. Imitation, representation vs. Reality, and fantasy vs. Fiction. It is clear that unscientific elements, such as optical illusion, magic of representation and illusion of images, sustain these concepts. In this regard, art is not knowledge, nor science. His photographs once again pose a question about values in these “mysterious”  domains, well beyond knowledge. Our eyes are susceptible to optical illusion. The “trick” has become more sophisticataed in this exhibition. This clearly belongs in the domain of magic. Then should this optical illusion be cured? Plato once degraded images as a substandard from of recognition by considering that art is deprived of essence. However, people get a sensual thrill through this “deprivation” and experience espistemological pleasure from this. In this respect, Han’s photographs succesfully embody a pleasant structure of “trickery” and “illusion” that visual arts attract.

From the text of Park Pyeong-jong.