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2010 Solo Show, by Victoria Lu , Celia Huang

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Kwon Ki-soo’s New Xanadu
2009-2010

 

                                                                陸蓉之 Victoria Lu

 

Throughout my research of “Animanix” artists, Kwon Ki-soo is one of the Korean artists who caught my vision the earliest. His fictional and personified Dongguri and its geometricized smile, quickly gained him a huge recognition and raising popularity. Although often being categorized as a new pop artist tightly related with popular culture, Kwon Ki-soo’s art creation is actually more derived from the art of Chinese tradition literati, or possess very profound literati concepts. His creation usually tends to aspire a perfect wonderland distant from the mortal world, therefore it is not surprising that this exhibition is titled “Are You Waiting For Me? – Kwon Ki-Soo’s New Xanadu”

From the surface aspect, Kwon Ki-soo’s paintings could be categorized into Takashi Murakami’s so-called “Superflat”. However when looking deeper into their art background, we could find that their arts in fact both originate from profound traditional efforts, one from classical Korean Literati paintings, one from classical Japanese paintings. They seem to reach the same goal through different means, but actually their paintings have very tight relationship with Chinese Traditional literati art, refined by years, and then merged with elements of contemporary times. Takashi Murakami created his Kaikaikiki, which has similar approach with Dongguri created by Kwon Ki-soo by different rendering. They both use specific images and symbols as main characters, to signify some particular characteristic implications, while both also contain important features of Animamix art.

In fact, Kwon Ki-soo in his animation artwork “Plum blossoms around a cottage – visiting a friend on a snowy dayof 2003, predicted his future direction of art creating. He interprets the life through personified Dongguri. Between the alternations of the various season changes, the humanity blends with the conception of perfect combination of human and Heaven in classical ink-wash paintings. What Kwon Ki-soo is seeking for – a spiritual Utopia – is actually the highest land hidden deeply in the hearts of Chinese literati through thousands of years. Xanadu, is a wonderland of Chinese literati’s reverie, a virtual fairyland hard to realized in the real society, a implicative literature work, also a modern mythology which Kwo-Ki-soo is dreaming about. “Are you waiting for me” is the artist’s humorous language, but also his self-questioning of a deep mental analysis.

Kwo Ki-soo’s New Xanadu is neither an unknown misty world veiled by fictions and virtuality, nor dream vanishing after seeking. He constructs the imaginations of New Xanadu into a colorful and splendid universal paradise, where Dongguri could always amuse himself contentedly. In Kwon Ki-soo’s visual New Xanadu, happiness could be simple; beauty could be easy; there is no need of reasons to tell stories. This profound purity and simplicity in the ordinary life, is exactly the spectacular feature created under his vivid brush stroke.

From plane paintings to 3D artworks, Kwon Ki-soo’s papercut-like flat-3D sculptures continuing his flat painting style, develops to another new language of painting-sculpture. It is 2D images in 3D spaces, as well as 3D solid space in 2D images, existing as interior and exterior for each other simultaneously, accomplishing a distinctive characteristic in the realm of sculptures with his clear signature style.

Lost audiences, when you turn around to the path you walk through, wouldn’t you surprisingly discover: Dongguri, is the transformation of Kwon Ki-soo himself?



 

 

        Are You Waiting For ME? ---- Kwon Ki-soo’s New Xanadu


The Xanadu is a beautiful encounter. Wuling’s fortuitous experience has been legendized into an eternal aspiration.


             A mysterious mistake became an inerasable myth, as well as the diverse and colorful imaginations on the artist’s canvas. Up to the heaven or down to the nether world, in Kwon Ki-soo’s New Xanadu, The Butterfly Dream are dancing, blossoms are shining, listening to the birds while riding on a horse. The sense of romance is waiting at every moment of future, waiting for the surprising encounter with you.
  

Since before, Dongguri sitting on the stone meditating in the colorful red forest is Kwon Ki-soo’s vivid symbols and characteristic which amazes the contemporary art field. Just like “Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove” who cloistered from the world and indulged in the Nature, Dongguri brings delightful smiles and sunshine to himself as well as others, representing the life philosophy of “profound simplicity”, and achieves Kwon Ki-soo’s art style of “creating irregular contracts and variations within schemes”.
 

             Kwon Ki-soo’s new artworks of 2009 content as usual colorful forests of flowers and happy Dongguri, moreover, much more diverse background, time-space and elements. Like pregnant modern poems, they come down to the mortal world from the university, placed in the fantasy illusion full of flourishing flowers, however accompanied with classical sentiments. Happy Dongguri rafts and wanders in this florid and glittering forest, unveiling the introduction of Wuling fishman’s fantasy adventure, tracing the myth which lasts for thousand years. In the Xanadu the artist’s imagination just like a running wild horse, concretizes virtual imaginations into logically thought scenes. Kwon Ki-soo’s New Xanadu is deconstructed into three series linking the past and the future: the universe, classical literature, and the mortal world.

             In “Are You Waiting For Me?”, Dongguri leisurely standing on the top of Earth, challenging the untrammeled Universe. Is it you waiting for Kwon Ki-soo’s art reaching the end of the world, or Kwon Ki-soo waiting for you walking into his Xanadu? In “The Butterfly Dream” and “Sky blue”, Dongguri has emerged from the cocoon and grew out a pair of beautiful winds, freely roaming over the heaven with contented smile gladly depicted on Dongguri’s orange winds and carefree antennas. Kwon Ki-soo’s unlimited creations from the deep forest soar into the sky like a roc spreading out the winds, then unhurriedly float between dreamy sky lights and cloud shadows by “Parachutes”. “Dream of Rainbows” may be the initial of the heaven and the world. Standing in the middle of the rainbow, Dongguri is elated and energetic, stepping forward to catch up the dream, st the same time looking back to where he is from.


“Liten without prejudice” and “Severe Winter Painting” are inspired by distant antique paintings, implicating meanings of classical literatures such as Lao-tzu’s nihility, insights of Zen, and the philosophy of pin and cypress’s fortitude from Confucianism. Over the years Kwon Ki-soo’s creative expression, from “profound simplicity” to “simple profundity, is undoubtedly a major turning point of his artistic gradation. The surface interpretations are replaced by much richer imaginative space, just as what Lao-tzu said “ultimate being belongs to nil”.

             “Time”, “Green Forest”, and “Who Am I?” are the artist’s description of poem “sunshine lighting up the deep forest reflects the green of the moss”. However in this forest many unknown stones are added, for hermits to sit, lie down, or think, followed by their free inclination. And these stones could be infinitely extended, could be disappeared too all of sudden, leaving Dongguri alone meditating under the full moon deep in the forest. Familiar elements signify various interests of different parables, retracing the past as well as foreseeing the future.


Kwon Ki-soo’s flat 3D sculptures always contain a unique attraction. The floral animal appearing to be a horse or a cow, wanders in Kwon Ki-soo’s Xanadu, bringing us the expected surprise. It is certain that this will become another outstanding symbol in Kwon Ki-soo’s art creating besides Dongguri. Moreover, “Sound of the Wind” and “In the Forest” derived from the artist’s painting, turn the objective surrounding into kaleidoscopic backgrounds of the 3D artworks, as if the breeze blows, fallen blossoms fly, the seed of happiness brought by Dongguri is blowing in the wind.


             In every artist’s heart there is a secret Xanadu. It is nothing about the flying strokes or the elaborative complexity; future does not exist without history; legends could not be without stories; while artworks are always eternally witnessing the beauty of eras. New Xanadu is hidden in the story of stories, waiting for an unwitting glance from us. Are you waiting for me? Kwon Ki-soo is waiting for you in his New Xanadu.

                                   
                                                 
Celia Huang(Metaphysical Art Gallery)2009-2010

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3 2008 by Kim Sun-hee anonymous 2010-10-09 14573
2 2008 Solo show, Parkryusook gallery anonymous 2010-10-09 11214
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