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Triangle of Transformation - Lee Kyong
Abstract Painting Artist
Kyong_Lee, Contemporary_art, Abstract, Color-Adjective
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전이의 트라이앵글-이경의 그림과 장소

강 수 미(작가, 전시기획)

감각의 공간/실재의 공간

고대 중국의 어전화가가 황제의 침실 벽에 그린 폭포 그림이 황제의 잠을 설치게 한다. 신라 시대 화가 솔거가 황룡사벽에 그린 노송이 제비 등 미천한 새들을 꼬인다. 파르하시오스는 벽에 휘장을 그려 포도 그림으로 새를 속인 제욱시스의 눈을 속인다. 동서를 막론하고, 재현이 기계적으로 완성되기 전, 그러니까 사람들이 카메라 같은 기계적 재현을 몰랐고 여전히 그린다고 하는 것이 신비로운 일 중에 하나였던 시절 있었던 전설 같은 이야기들. 기계적 재현이 완성됐다고 회자되는 이 시대에도 일어나지 않는 일이 어떻게 그 옛날, 화가의 손에 의해 일어날 수 있었을까? 물론 이것은 우문(愚問)일 수도 있다. 굳이 석도(石濤)의 기(氣)를 중시하는 화론이나, 들뢰즈(G. Deleuze)의’감각의 논리’를 배워 익히지 않았다 하더라도 우리는 그림이 단순히 무엇인가를 ‘잘 베끼는 것’ 혹은 ‘똑같이 그리는것’만은 아니라는 것을 알기 때문이다. 중국 황제를 잠 못 들게 했던 폭포의 그림은 그것이 단순히 실제의 폭포와 유사해서가 아니라 그것에 넘치는 기운생동 때문일 것이고, 잡새의 눈을 속인 솔거의 노송은 그것이 앉아서 쉴 만한 온기를 품었기 때문일 것이다. 마치 피그말리온의 여인이 된 조각처럼.

 

그림에는 감각의 공간과 실재의 공간이 있어 보인다. 그림에 투여된 감각, 그림을 통해 촉발되고자 하는 감각, 서로 동조적이거나 상이한 감각들이 충돌하면서 빚어내는 또 다른 감각 등 이들이 집결하거나, 추상화되어 지각되는 공간이전자이고, 그림과 그림 틀, 그림이 기생하는 벽(지지체) 뿐만 아니라 작품이 제작되는 물리적 공간, 전시되는 장소 등을 후자로 들 수 있을 것이다. 벤야민(W. Benjamin)의 말마따나 예술이 제의(祭儀)적 가치에서 전시(展示) 가치로 변화하면서 그림 또한 이동 가능한 것, 여러 곳에서 보여질 수 있는 것이 되었다. 전혀 다른 성격의 장소에서도 동일한그림이 걸릴 수 있는 상황에서 중요해 지는 것은 그림 ‘안’에서 이루어지는 ‘감각의 공간'(전자)일 수밖에 없다.

 

이 경이 독일에서부터 그린 그림들에는 “물(水)”이 있다. 이 물은 물은 물이되, 물이 아닌 물이다. 그림을 보는 입장에서 딱히 무슨 물인지 알 수는 없으나 그 운동이나, 색채 등을 통해 ‘아! 물이구나’하는 지각이 가능한 면에서는 물이고,그럼에도 불구하고 물이 의지하거나 활동하는 장소가 그림에서 부재하다는 면에서, 또 그것이 ‘캔버스 위에 물감들’의흥건한 흘림, 분출이라는 면에서 실제의 물이 아니다. 그러니까 이 경은 캔버스라는 ‘실재의 공간’에 물이라고 하는 ‘감각의 공간’을 만들어 낸 것이다. 그녀는 물을 그릴 때 붓을 사용하지 않고, 실제 물감 용액들이 물과 같이 운동하도록캔버스를 움직여서 작업하는데, 그런 결과로 캔버스에 그려진 물들은 운동하고, 서로 삼투하며, 기포의 흔적마저 갖게된다. 이 경의 “물” 그림을 통해 촉발되는 감각은 제욱시스의 포도처럼 눈속임(trompe l’oeuil)을 통해서가 아니라 실재의장소(캔버스)에 감각들이 유동하면서 오는 것 같다. 우리는 그 그림이 바다의 한 조각, 심지어 수영장 물 한 방울 담고있지도, 표현하고 있지도 않지만 마치 중국 황제처럼 귀가 시끄러워짐을 느낄 수 있다. 그것이 미술관이라는 실재의고요하고 단절된 공간에 들어가 있을 지라도.

 

이동

8년 간의 독일 생활을 정리하고 한국으로 돌아온 지 얼마 안되어 이 경은 그 시간만큼 지속했던 “물” 작업을 일단락 지어야 함을 깨닫게 되었다 한다. 그 깊은 속내야 알 수 없지만, 그녀가 독일에서 한 개인전 서문(Kyong Lee, 삶과 미술, Stadt Braunschweig Kulturinstitut)을 참고삼으면 아마도 그녀는 독일에서 가능했던 “관념과 다른 세계를 향한 시선과 동경”이 자신의 서울생활에서는 떠났음을 지각했기 때문일 것이다. 한 작가에게 삶의 공간은 실제 창작에 영향을 미치는 강력한 요소라 할 수 있다. 저 곳에 있지 않고, 이 곳에 있는 자신의 상태를 아는 것, 생활의 올올한 면들이 구체적 지시물의 얼굴을 빌려 드러나지는 않지만 끊임없이 몸이 체감하고 밖으로 표현되는 것, 그것은 숨길 수 없는 경험의 흔적 같은 것이고, 별 예외가 없는 한 작가들의 작품을 통해서 이 변화는 감지된다.

 

이 경의 그림들은 크게 나누어 앞서 언급한 ‘물그림’과 서울에 돌아온 후 지금까지 지속하고 있는 ‘경험의 그래프화(畵)’작업이 있다. ‘경험의 그래프화’라는 명칭은 2001년 여름부터 하고 있는 이 경의 최근작들을 필자가 지칭하는말로서, <지난 여름>, <우연의 삼각형>, <Memory of 34 Years>, <성실도 테스트> 등등이 이에 속한다. 제목에서부터 알 수 있듯이 그녀의 최근작들은 작가이기 이전에 개인으로서의 이 경이 몸으로 경험한 기억들을 작품화한 것이다.하지만 이 시간의 편린, 장소의 이동 등이 표현되는 방식은 다분히 추상적이고 개념적이다. 예컨대 그녀가 지난 2001년 쌈지스페이스 입주작가로서 외국 작가들과 공동 프로젝트(ssamzie site-specific)를 수행했던 35일간의 기억은 70개의 붉은 색 계열과 회색 계열의 색 막대 그래프로 <지난 여름>에 기록되어졌다. 그러니까35일간의 실제적 경험이 심장 박동 기록처럼 그래프화(化) 됐다고 말할 수도 있겠다. 또 <우연의 삼각형 Serendipitous Triangle>은 그녀가 유학했던 독일과 태어나고 자랐다가 이제 다시 돌아온 서울, 그리고 개인적 추억의 어느 장소를 종이 위에 지점화 하고 붉은 색 삼각형으로 연결한 것이다. 마치 항공노선표 같은 이 그림을 작가는 묘하게도 “피바다”라 부른다. 그만큼 그 장소에 얽힌 기억과 이동이 그녀에게 강렬했기 때문일까? 물론 그 강렬함은 냉정한 직선과 도형으로 우리에게 온다.

 

작가에게 있어서 필연적이었을 이 작업의 이동(물 그림-> 경험의 그래프畵)이 객관적 입장(viewer)에서 좀 생경하기는 하다. 물 작업에서 보이는 표현의 운동성, 감각의 증폭 같은 것이 경험의 그래프화 작업으로 오면 억제되고, 기표화 되며, 압축되기 때문이다. 사실 그녀가 자신의 34년 인생을 기억하고, 형상화하기 위해 했다는 작품<Memory of 34Years>를 보면서도 관람자들은 그녀의 기억 한 쪼가리, 이야기 한 토막 발견하기가 힘들다. 그러나 어찌 생각하면 바로 이 지점이 물 작업과 최근작에 일관되게 흐르는 그녀 작업의 성격일 것이다. 그녀는 물 작업에서도 특정한 물을 재현하는 방식보다는 그 기운을 표현하려 했으며, 그럼에도 불구하고 그리는 주체로서의 자신을 직선으로 형상화하여 개입시켰다. 이와 마찬가지로 내용 면에서 보다 개인적 경험으로부터 출발하는 최근의 작업들 또한 ‘생활의 재현’보다는 그 걸 통한 추상화(化), 즉 ‘생활의 발명’에 가깝다.

 

장소

앞에서 필자는 미술 작품의 전시 가치가 중요해 지면서 강조되는 것이 그림 “안”에서의 감각의 공간이라 했다. 이에 따라 상대적으로 억압되는 것은 ‘장소 특정적’인 그림일 것이다. 예컨대 작가의 작업실에서만 보여질 수 있는 그림을 상상해 보자.(현재 그런 그림은 별로 없다는 의미에서) 만약 그렇다면 그 그림은 미술관이라는 제도적 공간에 들어 올 수 없을 것이며, 매매되어 누군가의 집 벽에 걸릴 수 없을 것이다. 이 경의 물 작업에서 경험의 그래프화 작업으로의 전이에서 중요하게 언급해야 할 작품이 있다. <파랑 지우기(delete Blue)>라는 제목의 그 작품은 쌈지 작업실 벽에 그려졌던 것으로 이 경의 작업이 변화하는 과도기(turning point)적 그림이다. 이 작품은 시기적으로도 상징적이지만, 작품의 표현 요소에도 상징적 해석이 가능할 듯 하며, 회화 작품의 장소성 문제와도 관련이 될 듯 싶다.

 

먼저, 시기적으로 상징적이라는 것은 물 작업이 경험의 그래프화로 넘어 가기 전에 일종의 갈등, 혹은 새로운 모색으로서 이 작품이 그려지기 시작했다는 것이다. 다음, <파랑 지우기>의 표현 요소에서 ‘과도기(turning point)’라는 상징을 해석해 보자면, 우선 물 작업의 흔적(혹은 기표)으로서 파란색이 벽에 칠해졌다는 것, 다음 꽤 오랜 기간을 두고 그 파란색을 벽과 같은 흰색으로 지워나가기 시작했다는 점을 들 수 있다. 마치 더 이상 서울에서 독일에서와 같은 “관념과 동경”을 계속한다는 것이 작위적임을 긍정하고, 자신의 지나 온 34년의 기억, 경험을 되돌아보면서 일신우일신(日新又日新) 하듯이 말이다. 이 작품과 관련해서는 회화 작품의 장소성 문제가 가장 중요하게 언급되어야 할 것 같은데, 이 경은 이 작품을 포함하여 몇 몇의 드로잉을 1년 후면 떠나야 하는 쌈지 작업실 벽에 했다. 물론 그 중 몇 개의 작품은 다시 설치할 수 있는 성격의 것들이지만, 필자가 보기에 이 일군의 드로잉 작업들은 그녀가 작업실 공간을 매개로 삼아 자신의 개인사를 기록하고, 그림을 다시 자신에게 질문하면서 얻어낸 결과물들로 여겨진다.

 

예컨대 <파랑 지우기>가 새로운 공간에 부지불식간에 영향 받은 작가와 작업의 상황을 반영하는 것이라면, <성실도테스트>는 그녀가 작업실 공간을 ‘창작의 장소이자 생활의 장소’로서 인정한 작품이다. 출석부에 도장을 찍듯 작업실입구에 설치된 이 종이그림은 낱낱의 날들을 그 날의 심리상태에 따라, 그 날 작업의 만족도에 따라 갖가지 색띠로 표현한 것이다. 그리고 거기서 벗겨낸 물감 묻은 마스킹 테이프는 그 옆에 조그만 산을 이루며 작가의 체취를 증언하고 있다. 이러한 작업들을 통해서 그녀는 완결된 작품으로서의 그림이 아니라, 현실 삶과 긴밀하게 직조된 그림(물론 그것이 그녀의 개인사에 한정된 것일지라도), 작업실이라는 ‘장소 특정적’그림을 다시 생각해 볼 수 있었을 것이다.

 

물론 <파랑 지우기>는 전시장에 가져 올 수 없다. 또한 작업실 벽에 했던 <빨간 그림>등도 떼어서 다시 전시장에서 설치할 수 있을지라도 작업실에서 형성됐던 긴밀한 문맥(작가-작업실-작품)은 다시 재현되기 어려울 것이다. 하지만 이 경이 서울을 떠나 독일에서 유학하고, 다시 서울로 돌아오면서 겪었던 물리적, 정서적 이동이 ‘기운생동’에서 ‘생활의 발명’으로 전화(轉化)하는 것처럼, 그림 ‘안’ 감각의 공간이 작업실이라는 실재의 공간으로 확장되는 것처럼, 작업실에서 형성됐던 작가-작업실-작품이라는 “우연의 트라이앵글”은 다시 한번 작품-전시장-관람자로 이동할 것이다.

 

2002.ⓒ 강수미

Triangle of Transformation – Lee Kyong’s Art and Space

sumi Kang (Artist, curator)

Translation by Sojung Lee

Space of the sense/Space of the presence

The picture of cascade painted by a court painter in ancient China leaves the emperor sleepless. Sol-Gu, the most renowned painter of Shilla Dynasty painted an old pine tree to delude humble birds such as swallows. Pharhasios painted a screen on the wall and also deluded Zeuxis who lured birds with the representation of grapes. These are the legendary stories of both the east and the west before the representation was technically complete. In other words, those were the times when the mechanical representation, such as pictures were not yet to be known and the act of painting was still remained in the realm of mystery. These legendary things are hardly applied to today, when, they say, the mechanical or technical representation has fully developed. Then, how those things could happen with the hands of painters of the ancient past? Indeed, this sounds like a silly question.

 

If we do not bother to mention the theories of Suk-Do that lays a special stress on the concept of “Ki(氣)” and to learn about Delueze’s “La logique de la sensation”, we are all aware that the picture-making is not necessarily related with imitating or reproducing images. What is important in the picture of cascade of the chinese emperor was not the fact that it resembles the real scenery of the cascade, but the vitality that dominates the picture. Likewise, what is important in the picture of Sol-Gu is the fact that the painting had the warmth to embrace and to soothe the birds, just as the sculpture of the Pygmalion that had metamorphosed into a woman once did. There are two kinds of space in the picture; that of the sense and that of the presence. The space of the sense is created by integration and abstraction of the senses. The senses include; senses given to the painting, senses intended to provoke through the painting, a brand new senses created by the collision of the supplementary and contrasting senses. On the other hand, the space of the presence includes the physical space and the exhibited space as well as the painting itself, frame of the painting and the wall against which the painting exist(supporting material).

 

As Walter Benjamin maintained, the picture became portable and movable with the value of the art transitioned from the ritual value to exhibitory value. This shift of the value implies the situation where the most different spaces can exhibit the same picture. Thus, the space of the sense that happens inside the picture became more significant. There always has been water in Lee Kyong’s work from Germany. This is water. At the same time, it is not water. As an innocent viewer, we can never tell if it is water. However, it is water in that it can be sensed through the movement and the color. In contrast, it is not water in that it exist without the space where the water dependent upon and flow. In addition, it is not real water in that it is a lavish drop and gushing of the “pigment on the canvas”. In other words, Lee Kyong created water, a space of the sense on the canvas and a space of the presence. Instead of using brush, she manipulated canvas so that the paint moves with water. Through this technique, the waters on the canvas moves, osmoses and bears witness of the bubbles. Through Lee Kyong’s water works, the senses are provoked by the floating of the senses on the space of the presence, that is a canvas, not by the “trompe l’oeuil” as is the true of the grapes of the Zeuxis. We feel the din of the picture that kept the chinese emperor awake, even though we are fully aware that the picture does not contain a drop of water from the sea or from a swimming pool. It doesn’t matter to us that the picture is situated in the most calm and secluded place called “art gallery”.

 

Migration

Shortly after she came back from Germany in eight years, Lee Kyong realized that she should stop working with subject of water she had done for as much years. We can never imagine what her real intention was. However, judging from a preface to a private show that took place in Germany(Kyong Lee, Life and her art, Stadt Branschweig Kulturinstitut), she may have realized the absence of the “perspective and aspiration toward the idea and the other world” which enabled her to keep on working with water in Germany. A living space and environment are the strong factors that affect an artist’s creativity. To know oneself in a certain environment and to feel and express the every detail of the life without its concrete indication are the vestige of the experience that are unable to be concealed and left unnoticed through an artist’s work.

 

Generally, Lee Kyong’s works are categorized into two; the aforementioned “water series” of the past and the “graphics of the experience” of the present. The “graphics of the past experience” is addressed by the artist herself to refer to her recent works such as , , , . As we can notice from the titles, her recent work represents her experience and her memory as a human being. The means to express the glimpse of the time and the transition of the space, however, are considerably abstract and conceptual. For instance, records her memory of the 35 days when she performed a joint project with foreign artists as the residential artist of the Ssamzie Space of the year 2001 with the stick of the 70 different red and grey colors. It is reminiscent of the cardiograph of the 35 days of her life. is consist of a red triangle. Each of three point represents Germany where she studied, Seoul where she was born and raised and returned recently and an unknown place of her own. This work reminds us of an airplane schedule. Oddly enough, she calls this painting the sea of blood. The intensity signifies the strong impression she has on the spaces and the migration. The rigid lines and the shapes conveys the intensity.

 

The transformation of her canvas(from “water” to “graphics of the experience”) may be inevitable for the artist. However, to the eyes of the viewer, the transformation seems rather unintelligible. The kinetic quality of the expression and the amplification of the emotion that characterized the past water works are reduced, signified and condensed in the recent graphic works. Indeed, looking at her , which retrospects and represents on the past 34 years of the artist’s life, the audience finds it hard to discover a mere piece of her memory and her story. In the different perspective, however, this is the same point that traverse the different phase of her work. In her water works, she tried to express the vitality of the water rather than to reproduce a real water. Nevertheless, she is involved in the picture with the incarnated straight line as the subject of the painting. As for the content of the picture, her recent work departs from the personal experience and reaches the abstraction of the “reproduction of life” that is similar to the “invention of life”.

 

Site

As we mentioned before, the space of the sense within a picture is emphasized with the rising importance on the exhibitory value of a work. Thus, site specific picture are relatively suppressed. Let’s imagine a work that is shown only in an artist’s studio, even though the work of this kind no longer exists. This work is excluded from an art museum, an institutionalized space, while it is also unable to be purchased and hanged in someone’s private place. There is a work worth mentioning in the process of transition from the Lee Kyong’s water work to graphic works. It is entitled as. Painted on the wall of the Ssamzie studio, this work reveals the turning point of her work. Not only this work is made in the significant and rather symbolic period of her artistic career, but the element of expression requires the symbolic interpretation. Also, it is connected with the site-specific issues of a work of art.

 

First of all, we should note that this work is done right before the transition of her work took place. The work represent both the conflict between her past water works and her future graphic works and the new discovery of her artistic career. In the case of element of expression, the symbols of turning point are found in the fact that the blue is painted on the wall as the vestige(or signifier) of her water works. Then, over the considerable time, the blue was deleted with the white color as same as the color of the wall. She realized that she is obsessed with the same “idea and aspiration” even after she returned Seoul from Germany and that it is artificial. She would rather renew her life recollecting her past 34 years of memory and experience.

 

The most important factor of this work is the site-specificity. Lee Kyong did some of the drawings and this work on the wall of the Ssamzie studio where she was supposed to leave in a year. I agree that some of the work are re-installable. However, in my opinion, the series of the drawings are the record of her personal history through the medium of artist’s studio. At the same time, it is the consequences of her inquiry into herself.
While reflects the relationship between the artist influenced by the new space, consciously or unconsciously, and her studio,concedes the studio as the space of creation and everyday life. As she stamps on her everyday attendance paper, this work is installed near the entrance of her studio and consists of color belts that records each day’s psychological state and the degree satisfaction of the work. The masking tapes removed from the work form a small mountain and testify the artist’s touch. Through these works, she tried to accomplish a painting interweaved with her real life(even though it is confined to her own personal history), and to rethink the studio work, the “site-specific” work.

 

It is true that is unable to be brought to the gallery. However, it is possible to install the on the studio wall, but it is impossible to reconstruct its close context(artist-studio-work) that were once established in the studio. As Lee Kyong’s physical and emotional migration from Germany to Seoul transformed from vitality to invention of life, and as the space of the sense within a picture expanded to the space of the presence called a studio, the “Serendipitous Triangle” that once formed the context of artist-studio-work in the studio would re-establish the context of work-exhibition hall-viewer.

 

2002.ⓒ Sumi Kang

exv_2002.6  Zeit 2002 – Solo Exhibition, Dukwon Gallery, 2002