Koen van den Broek: Zylon

13 December 2013 - 29 January 2014
Installation Views
Press release

Gallery Baton is pleased to announce Zylon, the second solo exhibition of Koen van den Broek (b. 1973) at the new exhibition space in Apgujeong (Gangnam, Seoul) from December 13th to January 29th, 2014.


From the East to the West and Back was exhibited in the spring of 2011 at Gallery Baton, and it was the artist's first solo exhibit in Asia, in which the artist showed Street Motived Painting known as his trademark. Following the artist's previous exhibit, Zylon presents the artist's new works that have more abstractness in quality. This opening exhibit of Gallery Baton's new exhibition space in Apgujeong will present a great opportunity for the art lovers to experience major European contemporary paintings.


Having studied architecture, the artist explores geometric space created for the functional purposes like roads and transportation structures. His works originate from the photographs taken during his travels, and in the process of being transferred onto the canvas, abstractness is applied, and, at the same time, the dissolution of image and sequential reactions of emphasis occur. The emphasized elements, as a result, are empty space and shadows, but the depiction of details on the objects is omitted while semi-abstract output is born as lines and surfaces are highlighted or faded into primary colors.


His new works, which are emphasized by the artist's subjective interpretation about appropriated image and space in addition to abstraction, block the patterns that were used when he made attempts in the past to create anti-abstraction through the titles of the works, such as incorporating the names of the roads or places of the photographed locations. Therefore, these works suggest more abstract and conceptual qualities. Repeated black mass seen as shadows, conspicuousness of saturated chromatic line and surface, and colored fragments that are strayed as if floating on the background of the canvas display limited allusion to the viewers who are familiar with the artist's previous works.


Since his work is strictly based on artificial structures and space unlike the starting point of conventional abstract paintings, such as the artist’s surreal experience or subjective interpretation of memory, it has potential force of restoring the original image. Nevertheless, in situations where the artist does not share the specific time and space from personal experiences, such as a street in California or some place near the desert at one evening, the original image can only be inferred from deliberately vacates spaces, color surfaces and directions that are placed randomly.


As the artist noted, many artists like Piet Mondrian, Ed Ruscha, and Ellsworth Kelly gradually emphasized their individualistic elements while continuing their works on the motif of surrounding streets and space. Perhaps the artist might have discovered a milestone through this new body of works. Free from any political implications or social messages, his works present unexpected calmness with large canvases and the combination of bright colors. This visual experience and tranquility emanating from the combination of artificial colors lead us to consider the intention point of the fine art.


Koen van den Broek was born in 1973, Belgium. He has completed his undergraduate degree on architecture at Leuven, changed his major to art, and studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp and the Academy of Visual Arts in Netherlands. He had three solo exhibitions at White Cube and participated in a group exhibition Matisse and Beyond: A Century of Modernism at SFMoMA (San Francisco Museum of Modern Art) in 2003. He also had a retrpsocetive This an Example of That at S.M.A.K Museum, collaborated with John Baldessari (b. 1931) who is a master of contemporary art, and held a solo exhibition at Galerie Greta Meert in Brussels. These major exhibits were favorably received by the international art world and drew the attention of major media and critics. Furthermore, as his works have become part of the collections of prestigious museums like SFMoMA (San Francisco, USA), S.M.A.K (Ghent, Belgium), LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art, LA, USA) and Leeum (Seoul, Korea), his unique painting style and artistic approach are well recognized by the world's leading galleries and museums.