Park Seung Mo: Spirals Of Steel

Vyner Street is one of London’s must-visit places for contemporary art and has recently added Korean contemporary gallery, HADA CONTEMPORARY to its list of galleries. (The quiet street was very different from the one I remebered from the first Thursday openings). The appearance of the gallery from outside is distinctive with soft grey colours and no decoration or windows. Waiting at the entrance for the door to open, I was curious about what I would see this time. When I entered the gallery, I was greeted by a full sized grand piano tied with aluminum wires. The size was overwhelming but the achromatic-coloured work was in harmony with the simple and modern gallery space. Park’s works do not show the details of their subjects. They made me think ‘What am I looking at?’. The works might present the moment we see something and forget about the details. People cannot capture every detail of a figure. In this way the work reminded me of the old Indian story about the blind men and an elephant which is tells how everyone has a different perspective and no one can see the truth. People see something but we remember the object with our prejudices and emotions so each person might describe the same object differently. The naked figures in the gallery were also made with wire. A group of repeated figures had emotionless faces. The figures did not represent individuals. I was taken aback when I first saw the figures’ closed eyes. Their calm faces and bodies were meditating and I felt a bit guilty to break their peaceful moment. It is not surprising to note that the artist stayed in India for a few years and had practiced meditation himself. Revealing naked bodies made with metal wires creates some distance between the viewer and the ‘nakedness’ of the body. The body was empty. Without our countless worries, knowledge and materialistic decoration, Park’s naked figures just showed how to be an empty vessel. The moment at the exhibition was a moment seeing the inside rather than seeing outside.

AUTHOR: Eunjung Shin
CREDITS: Hada Contemporary