Park Hee Sook Text
The Artwork of Park, Hee-Sook,
Material and Image About "A Tempo: Return to the original beat" Series
Yoo, Jae-Kil / Art Critic, professor of Hogik University
"My artwork expresses the condition of healing and the recovery of the original nature with the best beauty and perfection "A Tempo", as the musical term means, is the recovery to the original condition". (Park, Hee-Sook)
Material is the basis of an object. In physics, material is one of many substances, the subject as the constitution in thenatural world. Material occupies a part of space and has quantity of matter. In the fine arts, material has been used as the definition of physics. Particularly, in philosophy, material is the important object for researching in the relation to the body. According to Bergson (1859 1941) "Matiere et Memoire (Material and Memory)", he grasped material as the independent objective substance. He represents material as the body in his philosophy as the specific material with perception and affection (sentiment).
By Bergson's interpretation, the body as the specific material has total memory (memoire) and partial memory. In addition, the object as the mental substance exists as the vehicle of image (symbol) and memory. I named material in the total images (totalite des images) andmy body images are named perception of the material, in the way we perceive the image. The material existing itself is the image and the body exists as the image (symbol) of the perception (material) and sentiment (immaterial).
The reason why we talk about 'Interpretation of Material' is to remind the importance of material in contemporary fine arts and particularly to discuss about 'Material and Form',which is the peculiarity of her "A Tempo" series. Generally, in fine arts, material was just subject matter defined by the dictionary. But in contemporary art of today, material stands above the meaning of subject matter. The meaning of material has been expanding to living things, the vessel for the soul. Material has gotten away from the representation of visual beauty and illusion, which represents the essential substance of object, infinity or eternity.
In Hee-Sook Park's artwork, "A Tempo: Return to the original beat" Series (2002 2006) is the material painting pursuing infinity and eternity. Although the artwork sometimes adhered tothe definite object, such as a musical instrument to the plane of the canvas, its material was emphasized in the basis of the canvas itself. The artist painted the basis of the canvas many times by using white acrylic dye.
The basis of the canvas with the many repetitious brushings produced the square pure ivory color without any blots. The basis with white and ivory, which was mainly used by the artist, transformed the material much like an organic body. In the title of her work series the musical term "A Tempo",which means returning to the original speed, is produced by these repetitive processes.
The repetitive physical artwork becomes to appear as material on her canvas. Painting the base of the canvas through the brushing over of one hundred times could be very tough work. The base of the canvas has been made by adjusting density of water by acrylic dye in countless repetitions. This base made the peculiar material and expresses the purity in opacity. The repetitive brushing work was achieved by the artist's faithful mind in every hour, like a prayer.
The artist could experiencethe taste of joy and bitterness through her creative process of artwork the worker experiences the delights and pains as well until completing the artwork. Hee-Sook Park says that while the clear colors are laid down like a layer, and they turn into an opaque white and ivory, those kinds of changes of material makes the worker herself put all her heart into it and attracts her. Process comes before the result of creation in addition,the process is more meaningful to her. The laborious work contains the invisible dignified beauty more than the visual beauty.
The material she uses, as a vessel to put the dignified beauty in, may not only be for visual effect the material could be a vessel for containing the worker's spirit. Her peculiar material beyond physical transformation intends to be the original tone. The material and the form have been cleaned by the artist's effort dreaming the angelic melody, the internal sound. It was expressed not just as the base of the canvas by putting a simple musical instrument, but as the internal sound. The artist would stick her faith in religion and the innocent dream to the purely clear ivory basis of canvas, for instance, likematerial absorbing a soul.
The basis of her canvas, the opaque colored material, is ready to meet a form. The form appears as images of musical instruments such as musical notes, trumpet, violin etc. in her work.
She has been contributing to music as an active member of a hymnal choir in church for more thanten years and started to pursue the musical image in her paintings from that time.
Both music and fine arts have similar artistic expressions, with the sound image through many kinds of musical instruments asthe most important motif. The note and musical instruments in her artwork symbolizes the aesthetic world beyond the role of simple subject matter. "A Tempo" of music means the original condition in relation to the title and theme of artwork which can be recovered in the form in this artwork, pursuing to the utopia of beauty.
In the beginning of the work a note is painted in repetition like a sketch brushing for making the base of the canvas. And then it creates the monochromatic scene like the space for contemplation, reminding us of a monochrome abstract painting. Also, the image engraved in the forms by deleting or accumulating, expressesthe countless notes captured in the space of contemplation. The artwork was composed of the formative quality by inserting an image on the peculiar material on the base of the canvas and blank space.
After the monochromatic work of note, "A Tempo: Return to the original beat" Series has remarkablychanged through the application with the images of musical instruments. The musical images were created in avery delicate way. This is not a painting directly on the canvas, but an engraving technique like a relief. The method of process: first, the printing form of musical instrument adheres to the peculiar material in the base of the canvas. Then, the image of the musical instrument left after carefully separating of base of the printing paper. Throughout this process, the definite form of the musical instrument is engraved in the scene lookinglike a real picture or collage. This is a very peculiar expression of painting harmonizing between the opaque material in pure base and the image of a musical instrument.
These images painted like a relief,pursue the reality of form in material and eternity of spirit. It reveals opposite worlds between a visible image and a saturating quality of material. Also, the visible form image of a musical instrument recalls an optical illusion. For instance, through the repetitive work of the surface of material, the image is sometimes hidden or directly seen. Therefore, the form of material evokes a surreal atmosphere haunting time and space by the effect of physical light, to the spiritual explore.
In Hee-Sook Park's artwork, the image of musical instruments is the material and also the form; artists often create the image of illusion through material (pigment). Images as a symbol of perception can be revealed in the form more clearly through material.
Henri Focillon pointed out these studies in art history stating, "Form and material cannot be separated, both are used in the same concept. Material is form. Material calls up the spirit of form in art and limits or develops it". In short, the material of visual art is considered as the form away from matter's dimension, which is the spirit.
Hee-Sook Park's artwork, "A Tempo" series also expresses the fact that the form is the material as well as a spiritual expression. So, the form of musical instrument can be captured in the space by copying the image and at the same time, space is expanding broadly. The image of a fossil was created in the imagery space inserting the body into the blank space.
The space being created to endure for a long time became the vessel for the form. The form that became a fossil in immovable space could appear as the trace of life. The image in limitless space existing in the form pursues the spiritual expression in more definite form, without satisfying a simple image expression or a matter effect.
In conclusion, Hee-Sook Park's artwork reveals the expression of religion and spirit in her fossil, or relief painting, expressing this peculiar 'Material and Form'. The material for confirming the existence, created the square form and the image of musical instrument. Her artwork possesses the expanding space through the material, creating the image as the main character in the square form. The material and the form haunting time and space would be filled with the infinity and eternity as previously mentioned. So the theory of Henri Focillon's 'Material and Form' is not just one signification, but being confirmed as a necessary theory for material and form in our contemporary era by applying in her artwork.
As mentioned previously, eventually, "A Tempo: Return to the original beat" Series of Hee-Sook Park, was intended to show the spiritual expression as the material. For instance, it creates the original meaning of infinity and eternity in the aesthetic, philosophic study.
The study of form and color through the material in her artwork is the original grope of painting and requirement of the times. Lastly, I would like to givemy best regards with sincere applause and attention to her restless experiment and great effortinto the meaning of the material itself, the inquiry of life, and the infinity through her artwork.