Permanent Education Exhibition, Dream Studio      

We live with and amid colors every day. The colors of nature, such as the blue sky, green grass and the red sunset; colors representing social rules, such as traffic signals and warning signs; colors symbolizing an institution or a country, and colors signifying the moment of life and death are all precious components of our daily life. Colors also speak to us through their own language. Certain animals use colors to threaten potential predators, to attract mates, or to conceal themselves in their surroundings. Certain colors make us feel good, while others can deepen already gloomy feelings. Likewise, colors can help express one’s state of mind or heal a wounded heart. But, colors used in artworks are, depending on the artist’s intention, often interpreted very differently from the general meanings of colors. The artworks displayed in the exhibition titled 《Color Pool》 allow viewers to perceive familiar colors in our daily life in a novel way. Color in an artwork never ceases to change the texture of meanings, and tells a new story each time of a person, a history, or certain trivial memories related to a color. We at the Gyeonggi Museum of Modern Art hope that this new exhibition will offer viewers a precious opportunity to discover the meanings of colors which thoroughly permeate our life.
Achromatic Colors
All the colors perceptible to the naked eye are absorbed into pitch darkness, black. Conversely, all the colors the eyes can see are reflected to self-illuminate all, white. The two achromatic colors at the beginning and the end of colors tell us about something existing beyond this complex life.  

Made by repetitively connecting smooth white plastic modules, the robot conceived by artist Lee Ki-il appears soft and fancy rather than heavy and strong. The robot, which hangs from a wire, as if flying out of the exhibition hall, appears lighthearted and has popular appeal. Using that lighthearted energy, the artist instantly nullifies the heavy weight of power and authority, the symbol of modernism.

Above a subdued gray surface lie black lines. The scenery of a silent lake calms the commotion in one’s heart at once. A brief rain shower a short while ago had the same effect. Without any grand gesture, the lyrical scenery hints at a few circumstances that there are water and trees, and it is enough without colors to describe nature.

Even before birth, we experienced the warmest of colors inside our mother’s womb: Pink. Like a warm light shone on the baby, pink is the color of infinite love.  

What is out there, what sort of event is happening there? One can never know what lies beyond the wall that is beautifully painted in pink from floor to ceiling. The snow white icing on the raspberry cake covers up the real color inside, a bloody thick scarlet pink.

Artist Kim Hee-jung uses pink, the color of femininity, and white, the color of innocence, to camouflage objects, regardless of their real nature, so as to make their surface appear soft and pretty; and by so doing, she addresses social norms that enforce ideological femininity upon women, coercing them to appear superficially beautiful.

Artist Noh Sang-gyun creates his works using the type of glittering plastic sequins that are commonly used for clothing or handbags, instead of paint. Instead of brush strokes, he embroiders sequins, one at a time, to complete an abstract image. The pink concentric circles of sequins that fill up the entire canvas radiate iridescent light from various angles, giving off an optic illusion, as if light is fast spinning into a small hole in the center.

The light that can reach the farthest is blue. Thus, the infinitely stretching sky and oceans are blue. Have you ever looked up at the sky and envisioned a place infinitely far away or envisioned eternal freedom? There can be no restrictions for the color blue.

What would space look like if it was drawn to a scale that enabled human eyes to see it all in one view? Where would it begin? How was all creation made? Artist Kim Bong-tae materializes the beginning of space and all things and its principle - something everyone might have imagined at least once. His ideas for this painting originated from Taiji and the Bagua (太極八卦), the image of Asian ancient philosophy. The beginning of all things starts from harmony, not from who comes first or how to precede; thus, the title of his artwork, “Without Origin(非始原),” literally. The color blue in the painting symbolizes the empty space of the universe, within which are revealed glimpses of all colors, signifying the new life of all creation.

Two children named Jiwoo and Cole took pictures of themselves, she of herself with her things in her room, and he of himself with his things in his room. What is the origin of gender preference for specific colors, of a girl’s preference for pink, or of a boy’s preference for blue? Every country has different cultures and no one forces children to choose a particular color.

By looking at these children surrounded by piles of things - God knows what they are all for - the viewer ponders the colors of our consumer society.

Plants, the main hero of nature on Earth, are invariably green. Without committing brutal acts of violence or waging cruel wars, plants share their place in peace and seek balance by themselves. We come to realize once again that the greatest power the color green has is none other than being natural.  

In an ordinary forest strewn with white and red flowers, a floral cloth curtain blocks the entrance. At a glance it looks as if the trees in the forest have shed the flowers, but there is no way of knowing whether flowers really bloomed there. Nature, where life and death coexist, opens up to us paths toward reality and fantasy. Thus, Park Hyung-geun’s photograph either shows that what is disconnected may appear connected, or that what might be connected is in fact not connected, or it reveals the truth.

What is that box randomly placed in the middle of a field full of wild weeds? The modern scenery of life surrounding our daily life is already far removed from green forests. As if to embrace such a situation, the artist has placed plants inside the box and attached to it a photograph of the place that needed such refreshing energy to create a box of “Portable Landscape.” As if not sufficiently satisfied, he placed the box in real nature for a while, and took a picture as proof of a scene he might never see again. Can we ever restore green, or nature, to our lives?

Yellow, the color of the bright and warm Sun, invites us to its infinite heart of comfort and peace. But, get close to the Sun and it burns. Yellow tells us never to drop our guard and to remain awake and vigilant at all times.

Flowers abound throughout the world. The colorful flowers that bloom in the fields every season are very beautiful - like bright laughter on children’s faces. To these flowers, the artist Bang Myung-joo adds another kind, the kitchen stove flower. The delicious steamed rice made every day by Mother, who thinks about feeding her beloved family, leaves us feeling warm and full. This artist calls it the flower blooming on the kitchen stove; and how warm and yellow it is!

The car is speeding along a road without a destination, amid a yellow landscape that could be a desolate desert or a dreamy road of fantasy. Then, occasional encounters with billboards bearing corporate advertisements make us rejoice, as if running into a friend in the middle of a nowhere street. Perhaps the environment surrounding us may not be mountains and fields but advertising images pouring down on us nonstop. It is the fantastic yet lonesome landscape of Mammon.

When we become excited upon seeing someone we like, or when we are embarrassed by feeling sorry, or when we feel unfair or angry, our faces often turn red. At the moment our feelings are deeply immersed in something hot, or at the moment we exceed the limit, without fail, red comes to us like a warning signal.

Merely looking at all kinds of cars tightly packed into the canvas might be enough to make some viewers feel carsick. Forming a grand procession, they might be moving somewhere very slowly, or might be completely entangled and stuck; these red cars warn us to slow down the speed of our hectic, fast-moving life.

The red sunset dyeing the sky warm at sundown is among the favorite natural scenes loved and cherished by people. But, in <red pollution> by artist Kim Soo-yeon, the red energy appears dark, heavy and cold rather than heartwarming. The red sky darkly drawn above the black steel skeletal structures crowding an urban development site looks like a siren warning man of his dark desire that continues to cast a shroud over human life.

Various Colors
Multiple colors maintain the balance in an artwork. At times they are soft, or at times tense, or sometimes they are mixed up in an unruly manner. Exactly what stories do the colors tell one another, tell us?  

Is this artwork a painting or a photograph? At a quick glance, it appears to be a photograph, but upon closer inspection, one can see the brushstrokes. The artist paints the surface of the subject and takes a photograph of it. What looks like a light shone on the object in the work is not an actual light but chiaroscuro, an artificial effect achieved by light and shade. In the screen there are two doors of clearly different colors. Our heart is torn between the two doors standing at the boundaries of photographs vs. paintings and colors vs. colors. What is your decision?

Artist Yoon Jeong-won has made various types of doll’s clothing with many different colors and designs, using the great number of materials she has collected from Dongdaemun Market. She had dressed Barbie dolls with these clothes, and then used the dolls to create a sparkling chandelier. At a glance, the work looks like a satire of gaudy decoration, but by connecting the artist’s saying that “the best extravagance an artist could ever have is to live life doing whatever he or she wants to do every day,” we can say that colors symbolize pleasure, or the heart’s desire.

Gyeonggi Museum of Modern Art
Credits: Story

Permanent Education Exhibition <color pool>
2015.9.17 – 2016.8.28.
Dream Studio, 2F, Gyeonggi Museum of Modern Art

Curator|Lee Jeong-hyeon, Han Jun-yeong, Lee Jin-sil
Exhibition Direction|Park U-chan (Art and Science Team Leader)
Design|Jang Hyo-jin
Supporter|Kim Yeong-mi, Kim Ji-hui, Jeon Ji-yeong, Choi Gi-yeong, Hwang Rok-ju
Administration|Park Jong-gang (Planning Team Leader), Han Chang-gyu, Chae Jeong-min, Jeong Seung-hui, Lee Rae-su
Technical Support|Shin Un-su (Facility Team Leader), Ju Nam-gyu, Cho Man-heung, Kim Gyeong-uk, Kim Jeong-yun, Yim Ung-seon, Han Jong-guk
Training Support|Kim Min-yeong, Ahn Yun-hui, Lee Yun-ji, Jang Sae-mi, Jang Ji-yeong, Jeong Ji-hye
Project Support|PR & Marketing team, Gyeonggi Cultural Foundation
Space Production |Planningis
Transportation/Installation|Art Plus
Photography|Park Jun-sik

Host|Gyeonggi Cultural Foundation
Organizer|Gyeonggi Museum of Modern Art

ⒸGyeonggi Museum of Modern Art

Credits: All media
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