Fish in the Garden of Dreams
Extinguishment means to disappear and loses its existence. It is one of the most fundamental concepts of nature and applies to applies to anything without an exception. There is nothing that does not disappear one day. But there is something paradoxical about this idea of extinguishment and it is that it has an inseparable relation with the idea of creation. The premise of creation lies within anything that can be exterminated. From this angle it is easy to see that creation and extermination are inseparable ideas and they are the two phases of the same cycle. It is simply a matter of differences in form by the movements of energy in the process of a circulation.
Hur Eun Nyong's works show this circulation in process through the language of art. The technique that she adopted has the innate implications of the circulation of creation and extiguishment within it. This extinguising technique involves the process of a continuous carving of the wood and imprinting that process on papers. This means the work of engraving and printing process are done simultaneously and the final work can be attained in that dual process. When the final printing is completed the engraved wood looks like a door flap of a house destroyed by a rainstorm. It is the remains of a work that withstood dozens of engravings.
The engraving that came into being by consuming engravings itself' is the trademark of Hur Eun Nyong's prints and it represents the unique materialistic character of her works. This is done by consuming engravings layers of paints which roughen the surface as if a plastered wall. Hur Eun Nyong uses oil paints instead of printing inks which allows the use of much more varied to create various textures. Sometime pastel colors are dominant and at other times textures of crayons of crayons are created. The carving process also contributes this variable effects. By using a scraper or a file and even a hammer, it creates different textures each time on the wood itself.
Hur Eun Nyong's technique is bringing this kind of inventive and original effects in her works. Using this technique the wood can only be used a few finite times and therefore comparing to bronze or stone prints, it can produce very few edition. However, despite such shortcomings it can still create an extremely original surface and it is considered to represent artist's fine handworks, which makes it worthy of being researched further.
It is the contents of her works we must pay our attention to other than her unique technique. The artist uses fish, flowers, trees, and dead leaves as her materials. These are the things that exist with the limited boundary of time. But all of these things are represented not in an orderly manner to tell some stories but as ornamental objects just like some patterns. The fish swims in the forest as well as the mountains and sometimes creates a harmonious picture with the leaves and the falling raindrops in peaceful manner. The artist uses this lyrical and personified fish to show the world that she dreams of.
The artist consistently titles her works as 'nocturne'. It can be translated as 'song of dream', and it shows that the world that the artist is trying to express is the world of dreams. However the artist's dream world lacks any sort of happening. There is no message of authority that rules this world or any sort of conflicts or a message that fact that there is no message. This world she is creating in her art can be seen as an indifferent and uncertain world and one can criticise that it an escape from the reality. However this world shows the values she considers as important and it runs parallel to a religious order that has forsaken greed and all worldly goods.
Hur Eun Nyong's fish is an allegory of her own existence. She is telling us a story of the garden in her own inner world by using this engraved fish. She views the fish like an engraving in a cave in the pre-historical times and it represents an infinite dimension of time. The fish is also free from any spatial limitation and travels from the sky to the sea and this expresses the artist's desire for freedom. It sometimes is surrounded by perception, the fish is not only being used as a visual material for an expression of the artist's personal way of living but also shows the possibility that it might as well be used to represent our universal way of life.
Hur Eun Nyong's fish is ultimately designed to express our souls that flourish with the aid of our bodies that is slowly destroyed through life. Her faith of the convictions is visualized through the extinguishment of wood blocks and the creation of nameless trifles and as these are reborn in the name of art they can now be considered as aesthetic objects. perhaps this kind of reading and making the connections between the artist's technique and the title 'nocturne' is a bit overdone, However, considering the amount of passion and time consumed to develop such work makes it clear that Hur Eun Nyong's fish can leap through dimensions to ewpress her innermost feelings.
Kim, Young Ho _ Art Critic