The work of Korean artists Hong Songchul and Park Seungmo currently on exhibition at HADA Contemporary Gallery, provides a poignant critique and response to contemporary urban existence. These artists both question the state of anxiety and disconnectedness provoked by fast-paced, often superficial metropolitan life. At first glance, these works seem spare, serene and tranquil, but they embody deeper meaning. Both artists explore the evanescent, ephemeral quality of life in the city, but seem to engage with these questions in slightly different ways.
Hong Songchul’s LCD works, the ‘Perceptual Mirror’ series, with their myriad flickering panels, produce seemingly random, pixellated forms that mimic flashing traffic signals, thereby implying communication and the physical urban environment, but also echo the energy and speed of urban and virtual life, and indicate a temporary and ephemeral state of being.
Songchul’s work is interactive and engages the viewer in a dialogue of connectedness. This is most apparent in his ‘String series’ of works in which two-dimensional images of disembodied hands and torsos are printed on elastic strings, which, when viewed as a whole, produce the illusion of a three-dimensional body. Viewed more closely, these bodies become fragmented, and resolve into separate isolated strings.
Park Seungmo’s work, also explores the question of connectedness and ephemerality. Although they appear to be photographs or hyper-realist paintings from a distance, Seungmo’s works are complexly woven meshes of aluminium wires. This ‘Maya’ series depicts a butterfly, a pathway through a forest and a city skyline, complete with illuminated buildings. These works are illusions indeed.
Hong Songchul and Park Seungmo Group Exhibition is at HADA Contemporary Gallery, 21 Vyner Street until 29 September. Admission Free.