The Light of Reason


 The Light of Reason


박현주/Park Hyunjoo

05. 16. - 05. 30. 2016
Opening Reception: Monday 05. 16. 2016 6 - 8 pm
Mon - Thurs 12 - 6 pm, Sat 10 - 03 pm, Fri - Sun closed

TENRI 天理 cultural institute of New York
43A West 13th street NY NY10011


Tenri Cultural Institute, New York proudly presents Hyunjoo Park: The Light of Reason an exhibition from May 16th through May 30th, 2016 with an Opening Reception on May 16th from 6-8PM.

Park’s images have to do with light, so her critics tell us. But they can also discuss in terms of the post-minimalist aesthetic that in its pure form interacts with the viewer. Park’s pieces are site-specific incorporating the gallery space within her them. The shadows caused when installing the boxlike pieces on the white walls, create secondary patterns. In fact, the shadows in Nirvana 3, 2015, (13.8×6×6” each block), appear to be solid and discrete pieces in themselves added to the rectangular sculptures. These results in a figure ground ambiguity that can be discussed in terms of Gestalt psychology that shows us the way we as humans group parts in order to understand them and the way we separate solid and void whose reading has to do with the law of simplicity. By keeping her volumes to the simplest possible geometric forms Park engages in the interplay not only of solid and void but also in 2 and 3 dimensional space. Echoes of Victor Vasarely’s Op-Art seem to be making their way into Hyunjoo’s works too. Vasarely, the father of this style through his 1960s and 70s work influenced a whole generation of artists continuing his kinetic visual experiments and transforming the flat surface into endless possibilities.

In continuing this track Park’s work like Vasarely’s 50s pieces and statements, also has a technological element to it. She sprays rectangular or circular pieces with the paint gun thus creating with mechanical means while referencing the idea of light through her use of nuanced color shading. In his efforts to bring art within everyone’s reach Vasarely used new technologies and in his statements predicted an art that could be projected anywhere in the world within two days thereby removing the work’s aura or singular authority. Park’s modular pieces speak to the idea of reproduction in the mechanical age that recalls the words of Walter Benjamin who wrote about the work’s aura in his “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.” He stated that “when the mysticism of originality is removed, everyone can enjoy art.” This tendency was also present in Duchamp’s unconventional and unprecedented Readymades that moved the importance of the artwork from the object itself to the idea of the artist. Like Duchamp, Park provokes the viewer to think by questioning the most basic values of conventional artmaking.

Post-minimalism is process oriented art with site specific aspects and can be varied or continue the minimalist interest in abstraction and mechanically based art. As seen by her Light and Monad series, of 2015 and in their modular nature, Park’s sculptures fit into this vein. But, Park activates another idea as well, one that has personal meaning, one that she describes best in her own words “I wonder what we get out of such an incomplete and ambiguous grind that we call life …. Then finally I realized that by the work I do – that is, tracing light on canvas – I was actually in the process of finding myself.”


Please contact Tenri Cultural Institute at 212.645.2800 or, or the curators Thalia Vrachopoulos at 646.344.9009, or Suechung Koh at 201.724.7077 Hyunjoo Park :  The Light of Reason

Critic, Thalia Vrachopoulos



박현주의 작업의 핵심이 빛에 관한 것이라고 비평가들에 의해 알려져 있지만, 순수한 형태가 보는 이와 상호 작용한다는 점에서 포스트 미니멀리즘 미학의 관점에서도 논의 되어질 수 있다. 작가는 장소 특정적 작업을 통해 전시 공간을 작품 내부에 결합시킨다. 흰 벽에 설치된  육면체들은 그림자를 드리우며 이차적인 패턴을 형성하는데2015년 작 <Nirvana 3(각 13.8x6”)>의 경우 그림자가 견고하고 독자적인 요소로서 직육면체의  조각 작업에  더해짐을 볼 수 있다. 이러한 전경과 배경간의 모호함은 감각된 정보들을 전체로 조직화하려는, 또 주어진 조건 하에서 가장 단순한 쪽으로 인지 하기 위해 시각적 대상을 채워진 부분과 비워진 부분으로 분리하려는 인간의 성향을 설명해 주는 게슈탈트(Gestalt) 심리학의 관점으로 이해할 수 있다. 가장 단순한 기하학적 형태를 유지함으로써 작가는 채워진 것과 비어있는 것 간의 상호작용 뿐만 아니라 2차원 평면과 3차원 공간 사이의 상호작용에도 관여한다. 한편 박현주의 작업에서는 옵아트의 선구자 빅토르 바자렐리(Victor Vasarely)의 양식으로부터 전이된 듯한 파동을느낄 수 있다. 바자렐리는 60, 70년대에 선보인 작업들을 통하여 다음 세대 작가들이 움직임에 대한 시각적 실험과 2차원의 평면의 끝없는 가능성에 대한 실험을 이어나가는 동기를 제공하였다. 

이러한 맥락의 연장선 상에서 박현주의 작업은 50년대 바자렐리의 작업처럼 기술적인 요소들도 포함하고 있는데, 스프레이로 페인트를 분사해 기계적 방식으로 직사각형혹은 원형의 형태를 구현해 내며 미묘한 색의 명암으로 광학적 현상을 연상시키는 식이다. 누구나 접근할 수 있는 미술을 추구하던 바자렐리는 새로운 기술들을 실험하였으며 미술이 이틀 안에 전 세계 어느 곳에서든 전시 될 수 있는 미래와 그에 따른 예술 작품의 독자적 권위, 아우라(aura)의 상실을 예견하였다. 박현주의 모듈식 작업들은기계화 시대의 생산과 복제에 대한 발터 벤야민의 논의를 연상시킨다. <기계 복제 시대의 예술 작품>에서 벤야민은 예술작품의 아우라와 관련하여 “원본성에 대한 신비주의가 제거될 때 비로소 모두가 예술을 즐길 수 있다”고 하였다. 이러한 경향성을 반영하는 뒤샹의 레디메이드(Duchamp’s readymades)는 예술의 무게중심을 오브제 자체로부터 작가의 아이디어로 옮기는 미증유의 결과를 가져왔는데 박현주 작가는 마치 뒤샹이 그러했던 것 처럼 보는 이로 하여금 전통적인 미술 제작에 있어서 가장 근본적인 가치로 여겨져 왔던 것들에 대해 질문을 던지게 만든다.

<Light and Monad>연작(2015)과 모듈성으로 설명될 수 있는 박현주의 작업들은 포스트 미니멀리즘의 흐름 위에 있다. 과정에 중점을 두고 미니멀리즘의 연장선에서 추상성과 기계적 특성을 다양하게 확장시키려는 장소 특정적 미술로서의 포스트 미니멀리즘이다. 한편 작가는 여기에  또다른 의미를 부여하는데,  “불완전하고 애매모호한 모순으로 가득찬  삶이라는 과정안에서 무엇을 얻을 수 있을까 고민하면서, 빛을 쫓아가는 작업 이야말로,  나를 찾아가는 과정의  연장선위에  놓인 행위임을 깨닫게 된다” 라고 덧붙이고 있다. (Exhibition Director, Thalia Vrachopoulos,