The Moment Before Darkness: Arario Gallery Temporary Exhibition Space
There are moments that are difficult to pinpoint. Oftentimes, there are moments in which a number of socially constructed definitions slip away. These uncertain moments appear repeatedly like an evening that comes without fail every day. The evening, loosely defined as the duration between sunset and nightfall, is an incomplete state and time with boundaries so unclear that the exact point in which it starts and ends differs for each person. This moment, sitting between complete brightness and complete darkness in a state of instability, continues to project itself as a possibility before reaching the finish line. The exhibition "The Moment Before Darkness" introduces the works of three artists, LEE Hoin, WANG Seonjeong, and YEON Jinyeong, who resemble these uncertain boundaries. Their works capture unclear conditions, such as the time of evening, and express a sense of anxiety found within the ambiguous stage between completion and incompletion, both directly and indirectly. The reason for looking into the ambiguity of the evening through the eyes of the artists, is that it is meaningful to question what has already been established in the past in order to try and find new values within the boundaries of the process of change and uncertainty.
LEE Hoin (b.1980) presents atmospheric paintings of abstracted cityscapes for the first time. In order to paint the nightscape of specific cities such as Hyehwa-dong and Haeundae, the artist focused on absorbing and visualizing the various emotions found in the city rather than outlining its form figuratively. As a way of describing emotions that cannot be clearly defined and difficult to express with words, the artist paid close attention to light in the city at night. By experimenting with the intensity and trajectory of light, LEE introduces his own interpretation—condensed with emotions captured from the nighttime in the city—of the urban landscape. While the anxiety of constantly contemplating, delaying, and hesitating to express the outline of the cityscape, like the artist's previous works, can be conveyed, the coexistence of ambivalent emotions captured in the bold movement of his brushstrokes sets these new works apart. After graduating with both bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Korea National University of Arts, LEE Hoin held solo exhibitions at Doosan Gallery New York (2018, New York) and Gallery Hyundai 16 Bungee (2012, Seoul) as well as participating in group exhibitions at institutions such as Museum Head (2021, Seoul); MMCA, National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Cheongju (2019, Cheongju); and Leeum Museum of Art (2019, Seoul). In 2016, he was awarded the 7th Doosan Yonkang Art Award.
WANG Seonjeong (b.1990) lays down fundamental questions about the social consensus on moral values, and through painting, questions the opposing lifestyles—one being the pursuit of happiness through the common good and the other through self-satisfaction—which appear to have similar objectives, yet cannot be reconciled. The works presented in this exhibition portray the seven deadly sins, which reveal the feeble nature of humankind, in the arrangement of a hell scroll. WANG expresses the natural desire to pine after pleasure through the portrayal of acts that are considered religious taboos yet are also the greatest joys in life. However, the most striking element of these works is not the object of expression or its narrative but rather the visually contrasting expressiveness that derives from the artist's use of soothing yet vibrant colors. By blending the incompatible desires standing at two opposing points of discipline and pleasure through the combination of languid and subtle colors, the artist expresses the position of uncertainty that require a constant deferment of answers and clarity. Since graduating from Korea National University of Arts with both bachelor’s and master’s degrees, WANG Seonjeong has held solo exhibitions at UARTSPACE (2021, Seoul) and Art and Culture Space Yeoinsuk (2017, Gunsan) and has participated in group exhibitions at the Seoul National University Museum of Art (2022, Seoul); MMCA, National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Cheongju (2019, Cheongju); Artspace Boan 1942 (2017, Seoul) and HITE Collection (2015, Seoul) among others.
Lastly, YEON Jinyeong (b.1993) presents sculptures shaped like tables, chairs, lighting, and basketball rims made from discarded industrial parts such as aluminum pipes. YEON, who majored in furniture design, starts by working engineering machinery and waste material into designed furniture, which is then elevated into a sculptural work of art. By disregarding the conventional roles of various materials such as puffer jackets, steel shelving, ducts, and tents, the artist reinterprets the physical properties and gives new value to said materials. The same methodology is applied to the works in this exhibition. The beauty of this process is that it presents the possibility of not only discovering a new interpretation but also rediscovering the previously assigned meaning of materiality. Therefore, the mutuality that arises amidst the differences between the specificity of inherent material properties and the artist’s attempts to test the physical limitations, visually resembles the layers of ambiguity and instability of boundaries that waver in the evening. After majoring in Living Design at Kaywon University of Art and Design, YEON Jinyeong has exhibited at Museum Soda (2022, Hwaseong); COLLECTIBLE Fair (2022, Brussels, Belgium); Design Miami (2021, Miami, USA); Milan Design Week (2021, Milan, Italy); Daelim Museum (2021, Seoul); Global Week at Culture Tank (2020, Seoul); and Young Creative Korea at DDP (2019, Seoul). Recently he collaborated with Kolon Sports to exhibit upcycled works at Sotsot Rebirth (2022, Jeju).