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The Echo of Lines and Colors - Lee Kyong
Abstract Painting Artist
Kyong_Lee, Contemporary_art, Abstract, Color-Adjective
20809
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선과 색의 울림

글 : 최정희(서울시립미술관 큐레이터)

SeMA 2008 – 미술을 바라보는 네 가지 방식
2008.03.28~06.15
서울시립미술관

현재 우리 주변에서 보여지고 있는 미술의 양상은 그 의도와 실현방식이 너무나 다원적이다. 하나의 기준으로 작품을설명하고 평가할 수 없으며, 특정 작품을 회화, 조각, 설치 등 하나의 장르로 규정하기 어려운 상황도 종종 발생한다.이러한 가치의 다원화, 탈장르화로 인하여 때로는 한 장르의 고유한 본질성을 추구하려는 노력이 다소 지나간 시대의산물로 여겨지기도 한다. 그러나 또 한편에서는 그러한 노력의 필요성이 제기되기도 한다. 두 의견의 대립에 대하여절대적인 결론을 내릴 수 없다는 것이 다원성이 강조되는 오늘날 미술의 특징 중 하나일 것이다. 이렇듯 정답이 존재하지 않는, 하나의 거대 담론이 존재하지 않는 오늘날 미술의 상황에서 작가들은 각자 작업의 방향성을 설정하고 정진하는 과정이 보다 쉬워졌을까를 생각해본다. 아니면 너무나 많은 선택지와 허용성 안에서 오히려 갈 길을 잃고 더욱방황하게 되었는지도 모른다. 어쨌든 분명한 것은 각자에게 가장 의미 있는 가치를 찾는 것, 그리고 그것이 얼마나 효과적인 방식으로 세상과 소통할 수 있느냐가 관건이라는 것이다. 
본 SeMA 2008展은 지금 시대 우리의 신진 작가들이 미술에 있어 가장 중요하게 여기는 가치는 무엇이며, 그것이 어떻게 가시화되고 있는지를 짚어보고 진단해보려는 시도이다. 그 중에서도 이 섹션에서는 선, 면에 의한 화면 구성이나색채, 표면의 질감 등 조형적 요소에 천착하며, 이들의 조화가 만들어내는 마음의 울림을 미술에서의 주요 가치로 삼는 작가들의 작업에 주목해 보았다. 매체의 다변화, 탈장르화가 심화되고 있는 현대미술의 흐름 속에서 회화의 본질과순수성, 물성의 탐구에 직, 간접적으로 관심을 기울이는 작가들로, 네 개의 섹션 가운데 미술에 있어서 가장 전통적이고도 본질적인 태도를 견지하고 있는 작가들이라 하겠다.

 

포스트모더니즘의 횡행과 함께 ‘회화의 죽음’까지 거론되며 침체기와 격변기를 맞았던 회화는 언제부터인가 미술 전시와 시장 모두에서 가장 인기 있는 장르가 되었다. 더 이상 평면성에 귀속되는 모더니즘의 총아가 아니며, 보다 다양한 실험 안에서 재해석되고 새로운 가능성을 끊임없이 모색하고 있다. 또한 국내외의 미술시장에서도 여전히 강세를띤다. 특히 현재 우리의 미술시장에서 회화의 비중은 절대적으로 큰 편인데, 그 중에서도 극사실과 네오 팝 쪽으로 콜렉터들의 관심이 치우쳐 있는 상황이다. 단, 이러한 인기가 작품에 대한 활발하고 밀도 있는 담론에 기반 되는 것이 아닌, 시장논리에 지배되고 있다는 점이 우려의 시선을 낳고 있다. 물론 소위 잘 팔리는 작업들이 작품성을 수반하지 않는 것은 아니며, 많은 작가들은 꾸준히 시장편승적인 작업 외의 다양한 회화작업을 통해 각자의 고유한 형식실험과 내러티브를 완성시켜가고 있기는 하다. 그런데, 최근의 미술관련 매체들을 살펴보면 신진작가의 작품 중 순수 조형과 형식주의 논리에 관여되는 추상계열의 작품은 많이 등장하지 않는 편이다. 이에 주목하는 전시도 찾아보기 쉽지 않다.그 이유는 무엇일까? 현재 우리의 미술계에서 형상이 배제된 조형적 실험, 형식적 접근이 부각되는 작품들은 지나간시대의 산물인 것일까? 소위 모더니즘적인 논리와 의미는 현 시점에서 유효하지 못한 것인가? 이와 같은 의문과 함께이 섹션은 마련되었다. 그러나 작가 리서치 결과, 이러한 흐름에 맥을 같이하는 작업은 젊은 작가들 사이에서도 여전히 이어지고 있었고, 각기 다른 입장과 철학 안에서 새롭게 재생산되고 있음을 발견할 수 있었다.

 

회화라는 장르의 본질, 순수성을 이야기할 때, 서구 모더니즘과의 연결성을 빼놓을 수 없을 것이다. 모더니즘은 점,선, 면과 색채, 물질적 성질과 구조 등 형식적인 요소를 통해 회화가 비로소 회화일 수 있다고 보았다. 또한 환원주의,순수주의에 기반함에 따라 형상적인 이미지는 회화의 순수성을 방해한다고 보고 재현적인 성향은 배제하였다. 이러한경향은 70년대를 전후하여 우리나라의 회화에도 영향을 미쳐 다양한 형태로 발전되어 왔으며, 오늘날 젊은 작가들에게도 이어지고 있다. 물론 이들의 작업이 전통적인 모더니스트들의 회화관을 그대로 계승하고 있다고 보기는 힘들다.조형적 실험의 방식과 재료, 그리고 이를 통해 드러내고자 하는 바 모두에서 차별점이 보여진다. 비슷한 작업방식을취했던 기존의 세대들처럼 색채나 재료를 통해 한국성을 강조하거나 회화의 본질성 탐구를 작품 전면에 내세우는 태도보다는 개인적 감성의 추구, 사회문화적 시각의 발현 등 보다 다변화된 관심이 녹아있고, 우레탄 페인트 등 산업화된 재료의 사용도 눈에 띤다. 그러나 작품에서 추구하는 기본적인 가치와 지향점은 공유하는 바가 있다. 조형적 구성요소에 대한 탐구가 단순한 형식미의 추구를 넘어 작가 고유의 정신과 무정형의 가치를 드러내 보인다는 점이다. 세부적 관심사는 조금씩 다를지라도 물성의 탐구, 작가 행위의 흔적을 통해 관념적 실재, 감성의 미학을 드러내고자 하는공통점을 보인다.

 

섹션의 제목에서 언급되는 ‘선’과 ‘색’이란 두 요소는 조형언어들의 조화와 발현을 가장 대표적으로 드러낼 수 있는 존재로 이해된다. ‘선(line)’ 이란 ‘한 점이 연속적으로 이어져 만들어진 자취’이다. ‘점’과 ‘면’ 사이에 존재하는 ‘선’은 인간의 감정과 감성의 움직임을 가장 유동적이고 자유롭게 표현할 수 있는 도구라 할 수 있다. ‘색(color)’ 역시 감정의은유로부터 사회, 문화, 종교의 광범위한 영역에 이르는 다양한 상징성을 가짐과 동시에, 시감각 으로서의 ‘색’ 자체가가지는 정서적인 환기의 힘을 강하게 지니고 있다. 이 두 요소는 마음의 울림과 함께 청각적인 울림까지도 연상시킬수 있다는 공통점을 지니기도 한다.‘선’과 ‘색’으로 대표되는 조형 언어들이 중시됨에 따라, 이들의 작업에서는 구체적인 표현 대상이 좀처럼 드러나지 않는다. 그러나 이것이 재현적인 경향과 완전히 반대선상에 있다고 보기는 힘들다.재현 방식의 차이일 뿐, 아무리 구상성이 배제된 미술이라도 우리가 살아가는 실제와 완전히 동떨어져 생각할 수는 없기 때문이다. 그리고 작가가 특정한 의도를 가지지 않았을 경우라 하더라도 관람자는 작품을 마주할 때, 색채나 구성등 어떤 요소를 만나든 자연스럽게 어떠한 대상, 혹은 감정과 연결 짓는 연상 작용을 하게 된다. 때문에 이들의 회화는관람자들에게 최소한의 힌트를 제공하면서도 그만큼의 광범위한 상상력과 감성적 교감을 이끌어내기도 한다. 외형적으로는 모더니즘의 환원주의 논리와 맥이 닿아 있지만, 단순한 형식미의 추구를 넘어서는 서정성과 감성적 은유가 공존하는 것이다. 또한 수공성이 강조된 작업과정의 경우 작가에겐 자기정화의 수단으로, 관람자에게는 일종의 카타르시스의 제공처로 기능하기도 한다.

 

이 경은 작가 주변의 풍경이나 인상적인 이미지의 느낌들을 색 띠의 화면으로 옮겨낸다. <하늘 한 조각>은 시시각각변하는 하늘의 이미지를 49개의 캔버스에 담아내어 전시 공간에 맞게 구성하였고, 맞은편에 자리한 <붉은 그림>, <푸른 안개 빛 그림>은 각각 석양과 새벽의 아스라함을 연상하게 하는 동시에, 제목을 통해 색채의 상징성과 고유한성격에 대한 사유를 드러낸다. 그러나 여기에서 하늘, 노을 등의 연상은 하나의 예일 뿐, 각각의 화면들이 관람자의 감성에 어떻게 다가가고 작용하게 되는가는 매우 가변적이다. 작가는 특정한 기억과 경험 등이 인간의 심상 안에서 구체적인 장면이 아닌 색채와 분위기로써 각인됨을 작품으로 내보일 뿐이며, 이 결과물은 다양한 개인들에게 서로 다른 감성을 환기시키는 열린 풍경으로 역할하게 된다. 수평선으로만 이루어진 작가의 화면은 가늘고 긴 색 띠들이 펼치는 풍부하고도 섬세한 색의 변주와 함께, 색 띠의 경계들이 만들어내는 표면의 독특한 느낌이 부각된다. 원거리에서 바라볼때는 예측하지 못했던 수공성이 근거리에 다가갈수록 강하게 다가오는데, 붓질의 축적과 표면의 견고함이 작가 내면의 깊이를 반추해낸다. 

 

이처럼 이들 6인의 회화 작업은 모더니즘의 환원주의적 경향들과 연관되지만, 이에 그치지 않고 보다 다층적인 의미와 담론의 여지를 환기시키고 있음을 확인할 수 있다. 그렇다면 이들의 작품을 어떻게 감상할 것인가? ‘난해한 현대미술’이라는 어구가 진부하게 느껴지는 것을 보면, 현대미술이 어렵다는 것은 일반인들에게 거의 공식화되어 있는 모양이다. “이것도 미술이야?” 라는 말이 절로 나오는 폐기물 등의 오브제 뿐 아니라, ‘미술=그림’의 전통적인 인식을 만족하는 평면회화 작품도 추상 계열일 경우엔 종종 어렵게 다가갈 수 있다. 그림 안에서 무엇을 읽어내야 할지, 무엇을 느껴야 할지 쉽게 떠오르지 않기 때문이다. 그러나 앞에서 언급했듯 추상 계열의 작업도 완전히 현실과 동떨어져 생각할수는 없으며, 가장 미시적인 것이 가장 거시적인 것과 통하는 것처럼 최소한의 요소 속에서 보다 광범위한 상상력을기대할 수 있는 것이다. 각자의 경험과 감수성 안에서 자유롭게 작품을 즐기며, 작가의 의도와 정신을 가늠해 볼 수 있기를 바란다. 보여지는 것 보다는 풀이하는 것, 즉 말과 담론이 중시되는 현대미술에 어려움을 느끼는 관람객들에게이들의 조형언어가 만들어내는 내면의 울림은 미술에 보다 가까워질 수 있는 하나의 통로가 될 것이다. 작품에서 잔잔히 떠오르는 선과 색의 울림에 귀 기울이며 작품이 주는 순수한 시각적 유희와 정서적 교감의 기회를 갖기를 기대한다.

 

출처: “SeMA2008-미술을 바라보는 네 가지 방식”전 도록, 서울시립미술관
2008 © 최정희

The Echo of Lines and Colors

By Choi Jung-hee, Curator of Seoul Museum of Art

Selected eMerging Artists 2008-Four Ways to Look at Art

2008. 03. 28 – 06. 15

SEOUL MUSEUM OF ART

The aspects of the art we face in the surroundings of today are so multi-faceted in their intentions and methods of realization that a work of art cannot be evaluated with just one criterion and in some cases cannot be defined by one particular genre, such as painting, sculpture, or installation. An effort to only pursue the quintessential nature of one specific genre is now thought to be somewhat outdated due to our pluralistic values and the post-genre tendency in the art world. However, on the other hand, such efforts are still required to a certain extent. One of the most distinctive characteristics of art today, which is marked by an emphasis on plurality, is that absolute conclusions have become harder to make.

 

Under today’s artistic conditions, where no easy solutions or grandiose discourses exist, each artist sets their own personal goal and pursues it quite easily. However, an artist may lose his way among the so many readily available options. What is crucial is for each individual artist to find what’s most significant to them and to discover how to efficiently communicate this to the world.

 

The SeMA 2008 exhibition attempts to explore what Korea’s rising artists consider to be most valuable in art as well as to examine how they achieve it. In this section, we shed light on formative elements such as the composition of line and plane, color, and texture, paying attention to work by artists who place strong importance on the harmony created by these elements. In this section, artists demonstrate their direct or indirect concern for the true nature and purity of painting among the current trends in contemporary art such as diversified mediums and a lack of genre specificity. Among the artists introduced in the four sections, these artists maintain the most conventional and substantial attitudes.
Such formative elements can be most easily represented by the fundamentals of line and color, referenced in the title of this section. A line is the trace left after the continuous movement of dots. This line between the dots and the plane is a vehicle to express human feelings and sensibilities in a liberal, free-floating manner. Able to evoke powerful feelings and emotions, color itself also has a wide range of social, cultural, and religious symbols. These two factors share both a mental and aural resonance.

 

A specific or representational figure is rarely found in works by the artists participating in this section, as they place more importance on formative elements like line and color. However, they are not completely devoid of all representational elements. For this reason, it is hard to assume that a work of art that thoroughly excludes any figuration whatsoever has nothing to do with reality. Even if not intended by the artists, each element in a painting, such as color and composition, naturally elicits both emotions and objects. Despite a minimal hint of figuration, their paintings offer an emotional communion that triggers boundless imagination. Outwardly, they are linked to modernist reductionism, but they also pursue lyricism and emotional metaphor, moving beyond the simple beauty of form. During a highly manual work process, the artists pursue self-reflection while the viewers can discover a kind of emotional release or catharsis.

 

When talking about the true nature or purity of painting, we inevitably have to comment on a connection with modernism. Modernists regarded formative elements like dot, line, plane, color, the physical property of pigment, texture, and two-dimensionality as requisites for making a painting a painting. They refused any representational tendency as they thought that all formal or figurative images hampered the purity of painting. Before and after the 1970s, this inclination had an impact on Korean painting, and was subsequently developed into diverse styles and handed down to today’s young artists. Of course, it is hard to consider that young artists accept the modernist view of painting as it is. They show a distinction in their experiments with form, material, and what they intend to reveal through these factors.

 

Unlike established Korean artists who often expressed their ‘Koreanness’ through color and medium and maintained an attitude to pursue the true nature of painting, these artists seek personalized sensibilities, socio-cultural viewpoints, and more diversified concerns, even using some industrial materials like urethane paint. However, they do share some fundamental values and objectives with established artists. Through the exploration of formative elements, they reveal their own spirit and respect for atypical forms and move beyond the mere pursuit of the simplicity of form. Although there are minute variations in their ideas, they share a common ground on which to explore certain physical properties and intend to unveil an ideal substance and the aesthetic of emotions through the making of their marks.

 

Lee Kyong employs color strips to represent what she felt from the impressive images of her surrounding scenery. In A Slice of the Sky, Lee captures the image the sky changing every moment in 49 canvases. Red Picture and Picture in the Light of Bluish Fog are reminiscent of the subtle atmosphere at dawn. Each title of her work reveals her thinking about a color’s symbol and inherent characteristics. Lee’s work can recalls the sky or a morning or evening glow, but these are just examples of the associations that can be drawn from her work. The influence of each canvas on the viewer’s sensibility can vary quite widely. The artist presents a specific memory and experience using colors and atmospheres, rather than specific scenes. The result of this presentation reminds us of each individual’s various sensibilities. Lee’s work, composed of long, thin horizontal stripes, generates rich and delicate variations of colors. The unique surface texture created by the boundaries of the color strips stands out in her work. Though appearing somewhat plain at first, on closer scrutiny her laborious manual efforts are apparent, unveiling the depth of her inner self in the accumulation of brush strokes and solidity of surface.

 

Each artist in this section brings about their own inner essence and their unique formative language acts as a way to make the viewer feel more comfortable with contemporary art, whose language and discourse is often so difficult and confusing. Listening to the resonance of line and color quietly emerging from their work, I hope the viewers can experience a sense of carefree visual delight as well as have the opportunity for an emotional connection with the each of the artists.

 

2008 © Choi, Jung-hee

exv_2008.14  SeMA 2008, Seoul museum of Art, Seoul