As the Spanish painter, Pablo Picasso once said, “Painting is just another way of keeping a diary”, a lot of artists reflect their own story in their work of art. The cave painting in the prehistoric age was the first art form telling us about how people at that time lived. It was their diary without any written language. Writing is a work of human hands like painting. Whether a painting is made consciously or not, it has the traditional value of a diary, in which the artist expresses his or her interests, daily life visually like ordinary people write their journal with their own hands. The beauty of painting lies in the fact that it involves with the process of the artist’s hands, which is the reason why painting is the basis of art. With the elements of their own visual language like line and color, artists write their own poems and short stories. The exhibition, ‘The Variations on the Theme of Daydreaming’ is about three artists who keep track of their daily life through their work of art.
An artist, Minji Kim’s work is a kind of a travelogue. Through the series of her paintings, ‘The scenery of a rainy day within the distance of 139km’ that features rain drops on the window that she sees in the bus, she expresses how she feels about her frequent travel that has become a part of her life for the past 9 years and her hometown that seems to exist only in her past. Traveling is a kind of a conductor that awakens one’s sensitivity, which might have made her feel the black and white rainy scene less familiar and recall her hometown in her memory. Her painting as an act of documenting her travel reflects her longing for a space that she cannot reach anymore, events of her past, etc. It alludes to the state of her past and the present, telling the viewers about her emotions.
The Swiss artist, Paul Klee said, “A drawing is simply a line going for a walk”, which is about the spontaneity of drawing. Lines on a piece of a drawing are like a magic that seems to happen automatically whether the artist intended or not. The subject going for a walk can be both the artist and the line. A work of art is an artist’s expression of his or her life, making the ingredients of it evolve through the artist’s inner force. Through her work of art, an artist, Dagyeom Lee draws the sine curve of her life as if to write about its endless ups and downs. With her own principles and orders of drawing, she fills the surface of her canvas with colorful lines. The beginning and the end of her story are shown on the canvas without any hint of the sequence because they are visually described on the space of her canvas. Her writing style expressed as a painting doesn’t have the same logic of a written language, which makes the viewers respond to her painting more open-mindedly, so that the spiritual forces awakened in their mind can be the content of her story. The subject matter of her painting, such as flowerpots and walls covered with ivy, which anyone can find easily in the alley of any neighborhood, is expressed in familiar forms, making the viewers sympathize with her own story.
An artist, Haeyeon Hwang, who majored in both art and geology, defines her work of art as a visual study of her inner-self through the inspection of her emotional response to environmental, geological elements of the earth and the events of her life. The attractive elements of her painting, such as the black out-lines and vivid colors, contribute to alluding to universal themes, such as the state of our environment, the laws of nature, life and death, etc. She has her own visual language that symbolizes certain things. For her, the orange color represents vitality and life force while the red color means pain and agony. Also, the shape of a drop of water drawn in her painting symbolizes one’s life or tears. Especially, the glacier drawn with strong black lines is the symbol of nature as utopia that is the source of life. Like the glacier melts slowly and turns into something else, it alludes to human beings going back to nature once they died. She makes lots of sketches and applies paints on the canvas neatly. Her perseverance to make art, which helps her overcome her fear, is like a self-disciplined person’s attitude towards life. Certainly, making art is her way of keeping a diary.
All of those participating artists of the exhibition, ‘The Variations on the Theme of Daydreaming’, show us their diary, following their own principles of visualizing it. The sorrowful scenery of Minji Kim’s painting tells us about the utopia that we lost while we appreciate Dagyeom Lee’s painting telling us about how she writes a poem with layers of lines and admire Haeyeon Hwang’s discipline through making her work that presents the new vision of nature. Their artworks are various forms of a diary that make us reflect ourselves.
- Yoonkyung Kim