Interview: Hyobin Kwon
Luca Curci talks with Hyobin Kwon during the first edition of BARCELONA CONTEMPORARY 2021 at Valid World Hall Gallery and during LONDON CONTEMPORARY 2021, at THE LINE Contemporary Art Space.
“I am a New York-based artist specializing in Asian calligraphy and brush paintings. Born and raised in South Korea, I received a bachelor’s degree in calligraphy major from Kei Myung University in Korea and then moved to China to pursue a Master’s degree and Doctorate at the China Academy of Art. I was the first foreigner to obtain a Ph.D. in Bird and Flower Asian brush painting in the art history of China. I am currently the President of the Korean-New York Artist Association (KNYAA), and I am giving lectures on the history of the Korean script and calligraphy at Rutgers University. In my recent practice, I paint scenes of nature and city sights, combining traditional techniques with mixed media. My works have been exhibited internationally in cities such as New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Venice, Barcelona, Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Seoul”.
Luca Curci – What is art for you?
Hyobin Kwon – For me, art is the best way to freely express the emotions God has given to humans. It is considered to express the circumstances, situations, and feelings experienced in a given life without filtering.
LC – How did you get to your current artistic practice?
HK – If you want to express yourself freely, I think there should be no restrictions on the skillful technique of the means of expression and the expression of those materials, whether it is a brush or any material. I have been dealing with oriental inks, brushes, and Asian mulberry paper since childhood. I can say that I expert in the material. I completed university, master’s and doctoral degrees in calligraphy and Asian ink painting in Korea and China. However, since I moved to New York 10 years ago, my artistic materials have led to attempts at Western materials, and now I want to express myself freely without being limited to any materials.
LC – Where do you find your inspiration?
HK – In my recent practice, I paint scenes of City sights, combining traditional techniques with mixed media. I live in City now. In the city, the history of people’s lives are piled up step by step, and traces of them remain everywhere. However, humans and cities were cut off due to the Pandemics, which began in early 2020. The city has been transformed into a haunted city where people do not live, and humans can no longer get pleasure from the city. In the time of the stopped city, I, as an artist, began my artwork to
remind me of the beautiful city we know of through my paintings until the day when the dark tunnel was over.
LC – What is the most challenging part about creating your artworks?
HK – If enough research on materials is done and my inspiration can be fully expressed, the difficulty of making work can be further reduced. The difficulty during the production period of this work was the problem of space in the studio. During the pandemic, my residency studio, which I had been using for more than 5 years, was discontinued. Therefore, it is unfortunate that the size of the work resulted in small works because I had no choice but to produce the works in my room, which is my narrow living space.
LC – How do you feel when you see your work completed?
HK – After the work is completed, there are times when I am satisfied and there are times when I am dissatisfied. Through exhibitions, my works are presented to the public and evaluated, and I always strive for better and more advanced works. During this pandemic, I completed more than 30 city-themed artwork series, two works in Barcelona, and the rest of the works were exhibited in Manhattan, New York gallery.
LC – We were attracted by your last artistic production, has the artwork presented been created for the festival or as a part of preexisting works?
HK – As explained before, they were not produced for exhibition, but were produced to express reminiscences and longing for the city in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, in 2020, while living in the city of death in New York, that passion was able to be captured in the work.
LC – Do you agree with our vision of art and what do you think about the theme of the festival?
HK – Of course. We humans must live on the same planet like Earth, feel and think about the various problems that humanity is facing or facing together. You will have to think about your identity as a human being in your situation and environment and expand it to the city, space, and the ground. I think that art will have a great influence on that role.
LC – Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
HK – I am infinitely grateful that this art festival provides an opportunity for the works of artists from all over the world to communicate. The fact that humankind can communicate through art, not through words or deeds, is even more special in these difficult times.
LC – Did you enjoy cooperating with us?
HK – Definitely yes.
LC – Would you suggest a collaboration with us? What do you think about our services?
HK – Any channel through which we can communicate through art is amazing. I would like to participate in the future as much as possible. A heartfelt thank you to the ITSLIQUID GROUP for providing such a wonderful exhibition. After the pandemic is over, there is a desire to go to Italy next year and participate in the event in person!