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"Brave new World, Unfamiliar Utopia"

 

 

SangMi Kim _ Art Critic

 

신원삼은 자신의 의식 속에서 변화하는 거리의 풍경을 기억 속에 그리고 화면 안에 그대로 담아냈다. 그가 그려낸 커다란 화면 안에는 현란한 색상의 물감으로 뒤덮인 채 주르륵 흘러버릴 것 같은 거리가 있었다. 흐른다는 것은 고정되지 않은, 유동적으로 변화하고 있는 어떤 것이다. 작가가 캔버스 위에 두둑이 올린 물감들이 엉겨서 표현된 거리와 진득한 물감 사이로 제자리를 찾지 못하고 흘러버린 흔적은 작가의 지극히 자연스러운 물질적 표현이자 거리의 기억으로부터 표출되는 복잡다단한 심경과도 연관된다.

 

그가 그려내는 풍경 속에서 유일하게 형체를 가늠할 수 있는 것이 있다면, 담백하게 표현된 푸르스름한 색의 인간들일 것이다. 누가 누구인지 알 수 없지만 시릴 듯 차가운 푸른색의 피부를 노출한, 성별만은 구별이 가능한 인간군상말이다. 일반적으로 현대 사회와 도시, 그 안에 살고 있는 사람들은 ‘차갑다’라는 일련의 생각들을 가지고 있는 듯하다. 신원삼 또한 같은 생각을 가졌고, 그가 생각하는 현대인의 모습은 그러한 인상과 직결되는 푸른색을 띠고 있다. cold blue라고 불리는 그들은 어느 하나 주체적으로 보이지 않는다. 자신의 의견조차 제대로 피력할 수 없는 현대인의 무기력함과 피곤함 내지는 절망감이 뒤섞여 안쓰럽고 애처롭기까지 하다. 현대 문명에 기생하며 근근이 살아가는 인간들은 차갑지만 이내 묻혀버릴 듯 외롭고 우울하다. 그들이 있는 곳을 딱히 어느 곳이라 정확하게 규정할 수 없지만, 뭉뚱그려 도시라 명명할 수 있는 어느 번화한 거리의 한복판쯤, 작가가 서 있었던 그 곳인 듯싶다. 금세 무너져 내릴 듯 불완전한 건물 사이사이, 도시의 일상적 풍경은 그들을 언젠가는 삼켜버릴 듯 불안해 보인다.

 

작가에게 이전 기성세대들로부터 듣게 되는 ‘나 어렸을 적’ 혹은 ‘우리 어렸을 적 이야기’들은 흥미롭고 재미있는 것들이다. 누구나 한번쯤은 들었을 법한 그들의 이야기는 따지고 보면 그다지 고릿적 일들은 아니다. 그러나 급속한 경제 성장을 이룬 지금 너무나 먼 과거의 이야기들이 되어버린 것은 아닐까 싶다. 그도 그럴 것이 우리에게 그저 신기한 옛날이야기들일 테지만, 과거를 살아온 그들에게는 지금 이 순간이, 아직도 거듭 발전하고 있는 현대 문명이 너무나 낯설고 신기할 뿐이다. 작가 신원삼이 서있던 그곳이 거리든 아니든, 이전 세대들에게 번쩍거리는 도시의 한 복판, 화려한 지금은 마치 ‘멋진 신세계’이자 ‘낯선 유토피아’ 같아 보이지 않았을까.

 

작금의 시대를 살아가는 사람들은 어제를 되새길 새도 없이 모두가 내일을 오늘같이 향유한다. 본질적인 가치를 상실한 채 무던히 반복적인 패턴의 삶 속에 갇혀, 나도 모르게 길들여져 가고 있는 것이다. 이러한 현상은 빠르게 흘러가는 시간 속에 너무나 익숙해져 주변의 주기적인 변화들을 신경 쓰지 못하고, 이에 반응조차하지 않는 현대인들의 삶의 전형을 보여주는 듯하다. 작가는 낯설다. 세상의 변화에 대해 더 이상 경이롭게 생각하지 않는 지금의 사람들과 거리에 서서 시간의 가속을 무던하게 지켜보고 있던 자신이 말이다.

 

사람들은 어디를 가든지 자신이 직면한 현실에 적응하며, 그 곳에 맞게 ~化되버린다. 그것이 자의든 타의든 주변의 변화에 따른 불편함은 어느새 망각한 채 그 장소와 시간, 주변 환경에 맞게 적응하며 살아가게 된다. 무섭게도 놀라운 적응력은 이미 육체와 정신을 지배하고 있는 듯하다. 살아남기 위한, 다분히 본능적인, 편리한 능력이다.

 

 

SHIN Won-sam created the landscapes of street which is changing in his cognition and put them into his memory and canvas. In the big canvas, the street which was covered with dazzling color paints and seems as if it will flow down is showing. In here, flowing down means a thing which is never fixed but is changing fluidly. The street which was expressed with thick and clotted paints on the canvas and the vestiges of flown paints are not only the natural material expression of an artist but also related to the complicated state of mind which was revealed from the memory of street.

 

The only thing which is possible to estimate form in the scenery created by him is bluish human which were expressed briefly. So to speak, it is the group of human that undistinguishable and exposes their clod bluish skin. In general, people in society and city seem usually has been acknowledged as a cold subject and he feel the same way. Therefore, the state of human in contemporary times was tinged with blue which is directly connected to this impression.

They called cold blue and seem never independent. They seem in a pitiable and pathetic state with lethargy, tiredness and despair that even they cannot express their opinions. Humans who subsist on modern civilization are cold but lonesome and depressed. We don’t know where actually they are, however they look like stay in somewhere at the middle of a bustling street in the city where he was. The ordinary scene of city seems insecurity as if it will even engulf them someday.

 

To artists, the themes such as ‘when I was young’, ‘memories of childhood’ are fun and interesting. These sorts of stories are really common as we’d heard at one time or another. However, they seem had been changed somehow as old stories in these days after achieving rapid economic development. It is no wonder that it is only something different old story to us, on the other hand, modern cultivation of these days which has been developing infinitely is unfamiliar and something different to people in the past. That place where SHIN Won-sam was standing, a middle of the brilliant city would seem a brave new world or unfamiliar utopia for the older generation.

 

People in recent times living tomorrow as today without looking back yesterday. Losing the essential values of life, we were domesticated by repetitive patterns of life involuntarily. This phenomenon seem show the formal life of contemporary people who forget to care and response to the changes in their surrounding while acclimatizing to the rapid development and its pace of time. The artist feels strange at people in these days who has no feeling for the changes of the world anymore and his state which stared acceleration of time indifferently.

It is a matter of course that human always adapt to the faced environment in everywhere. Whether we did or someone made us to do that, humans are forced to be accustomed to the place, time and given environment for living forgetting any uncomfortable according to the changes in surroundings. This fearful adaptation capacity seems already dominated body and soul of human. It is for survive, quite instinctive and comfortable ability.

 

Extract from ‘Brave new world, Unfamiliar Utopia’

 

 

 

Vittoria Biasi

Art critic & curator

 

 

Shin Won-sam proposes some very large paintings within the rooms of MOA Gallery in Seoul, where he is confronted with the representation of the contemporaneity that is an accomplishment of a social, community transformation involving the globalized world.

 

The exhibition, by art critic Kim Sang-mi, is entitled Brave New World. The pictorial and poetic composition of the work suggests literature and art history references.

 

The artist paints the streets of a globalized centre with bright chromatism, with buildings connoting the contemporary architecture identical at New York, Seoul, Bangkok, and Shanghai. The glass facades appear to have no memory of life, of traditions, of different people’s cultures. The perception of a global view of the contemporaneity determines the artist into a convergence between the pictorial and literary texts that are framed around the book Brave New World of Aldous Huxley published during 1932 in London and written during a stay in Italy. Huxley’s irony presenting a technological world that is standardized and divided into castes happy to be consumerist. In Shin Won-sam takes the language to extremes. The burning confrontation between existence and thought are brought together in conflicting relations by the artist. Shin Won-sam draws a world that is sliding on two linked rails mastered by “running out” time that cancels, dematerializes the reality. Extraction of architecture, landscape and chromatic montages tell us of a loss of touch process to the daily life, building of pathways towards virtuality. The lower part of the painting is fixed by a blue skyline: the division of pictorial space reminds us the old exchange energy thought between yin and yang that nowadays is configured differently. The blue world is populated of monochromatic creatures, evocation of pictorial tradition that in the West sealed the encounter of thought and eastern culture. The monochromatic expressivity is the origin of a new figuration and of a different idea of space.

 

The characters of Shin Won-sam challenge the necessity of a different time, interiorization and reworking of emotion, of mental associations, of memories caused by images or sounds. The artist brings the observation within the limits of bearableness or controlled sensation on an even keel. The pictorial elements do not go towards a concept of end, but they reach the suspension which is a place of choice and authority. The creatures of Shin Won-sam have the light of glass; they are the contemporary counterpoint of the building fronts giving a feeling of emptiness, of lack of warm-heartedness, of life unconcerned like a processing data terminal.

 

 

 "Brave new World"_ WonSam Shin

   Jul. 30 - Aug. 25, 2011