[ Exhibition Introduction ]
RHO, TAE WOONG
2018. 4. 10 (Tue) - 4. 27(Fri)
[ Critic ]
Not the eyes
Sensitivity in this era of SNS in which people use compressed language has greatly changed the way people consume arts. Movies and commercials rather than poems and novels represent the era, and the brilliant images changing several times in a second permeate our lives, making us accustomed to the pattern. Eyes are the organ serve as the basis for such senses. Seeing has become the most important source of the senses in this era, with the creed of capitalism telling us ‘to see is to consume’ underlies this base. I once described this era somewhere as the ‘empire of the senses, the hell of techniques’.
In the real world by using canvas and oil to make experiences meaningful, and to share with others, it is nearly impossible in such an era to foster sentimental shock or sensuous tokens, which have been invisible. Nevertheless, paper books of poetry are still arranged in the corner of big bookstores, and numerous artworks are still showcased in numerous exhibitions.
Roh Tae-Woon dispels the prejudice towards contemporary art that it is difficult to understand. It is, in a sense, because the images remind us of nostalgia and our sentiments for nature, and it is also because in his works he minimizes the idea of contemporary art connected with knowledge and philosophy. Viewers don’t need to rely on experts’ explanations, assessments, or appraisals in understanding his works. Viewers just can accept it with their heart. I have to confess that maybe this critique is part cliche, unnecessary comments disrupting the genuine appreciation of his work.
Great paintings flow beyond time and reality and make people reflect. Such works are usually the artist’s ‘sincere language and gesture of confession’ containing the artist’s heart. Such confession reveals itself, and at the same time erases itself, and opens up to us. The first virtue of Roh Tae-Woong’s works is the very sincerity, and through his works, based on this sincerity, we encounter unexpected and long-forgotten emotions. Furthermore, if emotions remind us of the problem of ‘self-existence’ by which we try to live free of convention, we are a little closer to his heart.
Not the head
Doing exactly what we desire is surprisingly rare in this empire of capital founded on sense and technology. This is because manuals and capital come first, while watchful eyes surround us. Most people are conscious of the eyes of others around them. However, we can meet people who do what they want without being conscious of others. This can be possible with the heart. The mind can be destiny, destiny can be truth, truth can make us love ourselves, and with love we can be free.
So far, we have thought and been educated that concepts and interpretations are the spirit of contemporary arts. To a generation brought up on such educational ideas, Roh Tae-Woong’s works can be thought of as antiquated; however, this thought also arises from convention and is an example of not approaching his works with an open heart. If you can see his canvas with your heart and mind, you can hear someone call, and you can find yourself looking back without anyone calling you. His works, not breaking expectations, not being brilliant, nor calling for attention, force us to confront inattentive and acute solitude. In such a place of solitude, we can speak from our heart. It is beyond my ability to summarize or interpret the space or the mind. I just self-reflect again and again.
His works are a certain confession. Through the confession and in the confession he meets the unknown world and becomes free. At this time, his works do not require interpretation, but experience, a charming experience such as anonymous love.
Once again, it is the heart
His works are refined and sedate just like him. Viewers can empathize with the heights of his contemplation and converged sentiments regardless of whether they have expert knowledge on art. It is possible thanks to the brushstrokes of the artist living like a monk and having solitude as his destiny, alongside his confession that it is the process of paving the way for a valuable life.
Park Jun-hyeon (art theory)