HOME > 평론 > 평론 4   
Junsang Yoo(1995.07)   
first met kukjin Kang 30 years ago in Nonkol. Nonkol was the name of a quiet village in Hong Jae-Dong. The village was called Nonkol because the whole area was covered with rice fields. It was a quiet agricultural district scattered with rural farm houses with their thatched or slate roofs. There was a crematory in the neighborhood and funeral biers used to pass along the streets and on through the rice fields before arriving at the crematory, The sounds of bereaved mourners and the sight of colorful streamers were common in Nonkol.
In this village, there once stood a small two story home, in which Kang and his colleagues rented as their common atelier. Here Kang and his colleagues formed a group which they named after the village 'Nonkol'. Youngsup Han, Taesin Choi, Inwhan Kim, Myochun Lee and Chanseung Chung, who died a few years ago, were its members along with Kang. With the inaugural exhibition of Nonkol in 1965, they made Nonkol into becoming one of the major art institutes in Korea. Kang, who was usually a man of few words, originated from Jinju city. He usually listened to his colleagues, even though they would, from time to time, fly into stormy discussions about art.
1982 [Tune 82] 102 * 145.5 Oil
When Nonkol was founded in his late twenties Kang said this about his works. "The object of my works does not exist at the outside of me but at the inside of my infinite inner image. My work is to find and express it" Through his words we can learn that his arts Inclined toward. Expressionism which was similiar to Neo Romanticism and Realism that dominated the world arts of those times.
Expressionism was not normal because it sought for the meaning of inner spirit rather than a subjective form. As for the inner world, he expressed it as "the renunciation coming from my unique life".
European Expressionism was the major trend of the 20th century when the national complex remarkably functioned as a major element The trend was practiced chiefly by the northern raw like the Germans and the Slavs.
It was strongly emotional, tragic and full of human distress because it was the emotional explosion of the northern races who were forced into a long silence in the history of arts, 1 think that Kang tried to express the traces of "his renunciation" from the point of this trend.
1975 [Line] 72.5 * 90.5 Canvas oil
(Line) and (Karak) series that he had consistently pursued from his 30's to 40's were influenced by the trend. The numberless vertical lines that looked like slim and long pieces formed the whole image of a canvas. 1 think that such a trend is connected with 'Mark Toby' and the "Alloverness" which means "to cover up the whole face" The "Alloverness" was the particular trend after the Wars. Its first exampled was the work of 'Flock' that the whole canvas was formed by the method of shedding and spraying. Its theory was made on the basis of the wholism originated from the idea that the whole canvas was worthier than its components or the sum of its parts.
If the sea is the whole, the unit to build up the whole is water, Or in more detail, the elements of water. We recognize the sea as the whole filled with such an element. As the whole image, the sea is not constant. It sometimes sweeps away as the whole of surging waves, sometimes calms down as the whole of the quite.
In any case, however, the element that is the unit to constitute the whole is not changed through the unchanging units. In the history of the modern arts. "Paul Cezanne" was the pioneer of the structural observation. "the whole can exist by its individual elements, but the element is influenced by such a paradigm and reorganized the whole with vertical and horizontal elements. Therefore his works were not what to express and write something, but the retrieval of how something existed. This idea was succeeded to his descendant artists. Kang was also influenced by Cezanne's idea. "Searching gropes for the real image."
Kang's "Line" and "Karak" were the elements to constitute the whole. His whole image reminds me of the structure of a loom. But it is significant that the whole had only warp without weft. he expressed his works as "the repetition of a gratuitous act." which was, 1 think connected with the above - mentioned "renunciation". Fabrics are the whole woven by weft and warp and a loom is the mechanism which organizes the whole, But Kang was not interested in the impersonal mechanism. 1 would like to believe that he wanted to be warp by himself and to feel his own attitude as an artist through the "gratuitous act". The "gratuitous act" made weft pass between warps by the most concentrated mind, while the Korean mind sitting before a loom left his own discretion to the loom.
1977 [Dot] 72.5 * 9 Mixture material
It can be said that the modern artist pursues the painting as existence, not as expression. Paintings are the form of plan structure and the question, 'what is drawn, how and why it is drawn?' is the traditional precedent.
The painting as existence does not mean an illusion but the retrieval from the physical structure of a plan, that is the condition for the illusion, In this case, the recognition mechanism that understands the faulted structure of a canvas raises the question how the structure is formed. As in our lingual structure, the understanding structure contains certain meaning in itself. That is our lingual communication in our daily life.
In this point of view, Kang in the early 1970's started to observe things and showed himself totally different from his trend of the past. But 1 was worried if his works of that time had been saved because the works were made of stones, ropes, wood and papers. Fortunately 1 could refer to the catalogue of Myong-Dong Gallery(1973) about his works of that time. In the point of his trend, I think Kang was not a kind of a technical artist but an artist who put stress on ideas. His art works can be regarded as one of the conceptual arts, but he headed for the conceptual arts in a broad sense, We can find his attitude like this in the performance that he tried several times with Chanseung Chung in the late1960's.
Our recognition originates from the pattern that recognizes something and the pattern is originally formed on the basis of certain form (e.g., his physical acts).Here the formed means the sources of our recognition, like "the concept" or "idea" that can be recognized. For example, the "form" that scientists recognize is the world of an atom or a molecule, but we recognize the "form" through a "sign" . But a sign is not the thing itself, The "sign" of scientists is the tool for an explanation and the "sign" of artists is the tool for expression. The tool for expression of the modern artist, the successors to Dadaism who regard all settled matters as empty, is a body as their own "form". The vertical lines that he had innumerably drawn as "the repetition of a gratuitous act" could be understood in this sense.
Around the 1980's Kukjin Kang had started the print that was his long desire and had run his own print atelier, After he got married with Yangja Whang, who was his partner and who best understood him, he began to show his real colors as a professional, putting an end to his attitude as a volunteer or an amateur.