Bin Woo Hyuk: Promenade

16 June - 23 July 2021
Installation Views
Press release

Gallery Baton is pleased to announce, Promenade, a solo exhibition by Bin Woo Hyuk (b. 1981) from 16th June to 23rd July in Hannam-dong, Seoul. Bin who moved to Berlin several years ago will introduce the new achievement of his long-term dedication and research into ponds and their ever-changing surfaces at this third solo presentation with Galley Baton.

The main motif of Bin’s first exhibition with Gallery Baton in 2014 was ‘strolls around parks and the suburban woods in Berlin’ which signified not only the process of self-realizing that nature corresponded the aim he aesthetically sought for but a ritual reliving his inner anguish and remorse that he inevitably confronted. As he repeatedly visited the places to spend meditative time and he discovered the meaning of delivering these experiences onto his canvases, the significance of the woods for him was growing as an intimate place where he could forget the pressure and weight caused by the discrepancy between the ideal and reality. His sheer determination with depicting the true picture of the woods where he could find relief and comfort consequently allowed him to underline targets of his practice and the act of painting itself by radically excluding unnecessary traces of ideological and secular tendencies which could have possibly overshadowed his paintings. In this context, his first exhibition title—Arkadia successfully explains the artist’s psychological state of the time and the background narrative of the presented works.

The title of this exhibition, Promenade whose definition is a path for walking on, can be simply interpreted with relation to the style and motives of his paintings; however, it rather refers to an abstract subject. As the theme of the exhibition was decided and most of the works were produced under the influence of the lockdown due to the pandemic, the images of the paintings can be seen as a result of consistently reinterpreting and assembling the glimpses of the landscapes reflected on the abyss of his memory. Thus, Promenade is a path in his subconscious mind finally given its spatiality through the combination of several synesthetic recollections such as constantly varying sun rays, subtle shifts of the air or soft ripples swayed by the gentle wind with fragmental sceneries of the woods, the ponds and their surroundings he can occasionally come up with.

His new 15.2 meters-wide painting series consisting of eight pieces is reminiscent of the Water Lilies by Claude Monet, one of the most famous permanent collections of the Musée de l'Orangerie in Paris. Inspired by the original installation style, Bin Woo Hyuk’s water lilies series is also displayed in the newly constructed oval-shaped space while only the entrance remains untouched; the series certainly provides us clues to guess how much effort and commitment he made  for the paintings. Especially, the way how he deals with and overcomes the consciousness of the original masterpiece and the overwhelming fear emerging throughout the process is more apparent in his pictorial approach and techniques decided by Bin’s careful deliberation. Since the images of the pond in rich colors broadly arrayed over the surface whose impromptu aspects stand out intentionally emphasize the sense of flatness and the floating sensation of color-patches of the flower petals, the paintings ultimately gain the dreamy ambience. Bin draws the abstraction onto the entire surface to manifest the radiant overlap of random lights and the water surface; therefore, the viewers can encounter the sublime moment as if they were in the midst of the endless expense of the layered pond. Although the paintings still convey a certain rough impression at the first sight, Bin Woo Hyuk’s proficiency at crafting the sense of distance occurred by the effect of the atmosphere and shimmers indwelling the woods suggestively shows us the impact of John Constable (1776-1837), one of the major English landscape painters in the Romantic tradition who portrayed the dramatic sceneries of nature with his simple and clean strokes.

Bin Woo Hyuk studied at College of Fine Arts in Seoul National University, Korea after receiving a BFA and an MFA from Korea National University of Arts, Korea. He has held solo exhibitions at Gallery Baton; Gyeonggi Museum of Modern Art, Ansan (Gyeonggi MoMA, 2018); OCI Museum of Art, Seoul (2014); and Chapter II, Seoul (2019), and participated in group exhibitions at Yangju City Chang Ucchin Museum of Art (2020); Gyeonggi MoMA (2020); Sungkok Art Museum, Seoul (2016); and Amado Art Space, Seoul (2016). Bin, currently living in Berlin, has been a member of the BBK Berlin-Professional Association of Visual Artists Berlin since this year. His work is represented in the collections of the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea; Seoul Museum of Art, Korea; Gyeonggi MoMA, Korea; OCI Museum of Art, Korea; Chapter II, Korea; and the Maryland Institute College of Art, US.