SHIN SUNG HY | ITSLIQUID

SHIN SUNG HY

Art | June 21, 2024 |

shin sung hy 01
Image courtesy of Shin Sun Hy Estate and Gallery

Shin Sung Hy
Palazzo Caboto, Venice
April 19 – July 07, 2024

Gallery Hyundai presents a solo exhibition of works by Shin Sung Hy (1948-2009) at the historic Palazzo Caboto in Venice from April 19 to July 7. This is the latest entry in Gallery Hyundai’s long-term project of solo exhibitions during the Venice Biennale that showcase representative works by masters of Korean contemporary experimental art: the dream of three-dimensionality expressed through a flat canvas. HyungTeh Do, Owner and CEO of Gallery Hyundai, explained the curatorial intent as follows: “After moving to Paris in 1980, Shin Sung Hy spent the next 30 years effectively playing the role of a Parisian home base for all kinds of figures from the Korean art world. As Shin experienced dansaekhwa and Supports/Surfaces – the major artistic movement of Korea and France at the time -, his work was unprecedented, exploring the possibilities of three-dimensional painting on a flat plane. Recently, the singularity of Shin’s painterly language was recognized with a solo booth at Frieze Masters in London in 2023, organized as a mini-retrospective. We are very much looking forward to seeing the response in Venice to his innovative body of work.”

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Image courtesy of Shin Sun Hy Estate and Gallery

Shin dedicated his career to overcoming the limitations of the “flatness” of canvas, that most absolute, indisputable space for painting, seeking the integration of the two- and three-dimensional realms. Having received much attention and critical acclaim through major competitions such as the Korean Art Grand Award Exhibition – where he won special honours for his 1971 surrealistic trilogy of paintings titled “Empty Heart” – Shin presented a series of burlap paintings in 1974, featuring realistic renderings of the shadows and fraying strands of coarsely textured burlap sacks in an exploration of the relationships between representation and abstraction, object and painting, and reality and illusion. This marked the genesis of a new kind of painting that appears to share valence with the monochrome painting that dominated the 1970s Korean art scene but remains distinct from the abstract paintings with their emphasis on spirituality; here, by painting hyper-realistic burlap on actual burlap, Shin achieves a coexistence of the real and the imaginary on the same canvas.

shin sung hy 03
Image courtesy of Shin Sun Hy Estate and Gallery

Moving to Paris in 1980, the artist continued along his experimental path toward the “essence of painting,” responding to the diverse aesthetic stimuli from the city. For the next three decades, Shin explored the three-dimensional reality of abstract paintings created by explosive combinations of colors. Rejecting the realm of the illusory, he experimented with introducing physical volume and spatiality to the flat plane of the canvas. Tearing up thick cardboard to make collages or utilizing the pliability of paper by cutting and ripping the material into pieces, he created paradoxical paintings that are simultaneously two- and three-dimensional. The artist meticulously cuts the vibrantly painted canvases only to stitch them together with a sewing machine or weave and knot them into a weft and warp formation, constructing a three-dimensional “body” of the canvas.

shin sung hy 04
Image courtesy of Shin Sun Hy Estate and Gallery

Over the span of his 40-year career, Shin Sung Hy has never left the canvas, consistently exploring the continuous space of color that resonates in both vertical and horizontal spaces. His woven pictorial space, constructed by sewing and weaving, marks a clear step forward from the painterly heritage of 20th-century artists. Shin’s paintings are both deeply Korean and boldly Western. The colors expand into space and the skeletal structure constructed by sewing and weaving firmly constitutes a plane. To keep both alive and help them coexist. Indeed, art historian Jeon Young-Baek considers this coexistence to be the most original aesthetic of Shin’s artistic language.

more. www.galleryhyundai.com

shin sung hy 05
Image courtesy of Shin Sun Hy Estate and Gallery
shin sung hy 06
Image courtesy of Shin Sun Hy Estate and Gallery

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