It was the late Eighties when South Korean artist Myonghi Kang started work on her portray “Le temps des camélias” (“The Time of Camellias”). Residing in Paris’ nineteenth arrondissement on the time, she would periodically revisit the then-vertical canvas so as to add strokes of coloration or floral types.
“I might return to the portray with all these questions in my thoughts, and recollections from touring,” she recalled, through a translator, in a cellphone interview.
However the portray by no means felt completed. Kang ultimately deserted her creation, and it was not till she took it to South Korea’s Jeju Island in 2007 that she felt impressed to revisit the paintings — and to modify its orientation to that of a traditional horizontal panorama.
“It was solely once I introduced the portray to Jeju in springtime that I had the braveness, after 10 years, to work on it once more,” she stated. “I had numerous camellias in my studio, and so I began bringing in all the weather that I noticed round me.”
Myonghi Kang’s “Le temps des camellia” was lastly accomplished in 2018. Credit score: Courtesy of Villepin
“I can not actually clarify,” Kang stated. “I simply felt this portray needed to be made like that. I trusted the second — to know the proper second for me to color the totally different components till I used to be completed.”
“I might not dare say that I paint time — that may be very boastful — however time is in what I paint,” she later added. “I let myself be the fingers of time. I obey time, however don’t attempt to manipulate it.”
This impulsive strategy is typical of Kang, whose quietly radiant artwork reveals her advanced relationship with nature. Now in her mid-70s, she will be able to spend years on a single piece, her often-gentle brushstrokes belying a course of she described as “very, very intense.”
“I simply take a look at work and really feel they aren’t completed. And it will probably even be arduous to sleep,” she defined. “They’re all the time shifting and progressing, and typically I by no means get the sensation they’re achieved. Typically, I want I might have a drink and overlook about it, but it surely’s not doable. I all the time must attempt to resolve the little issues I see day by day in entrance of me.”
Myonghi Kang’s “La maison de opticien” (“The Optician’s Home). Credit score: Courtesy of Villepin
Fairly instantly, nevertheless, the compulsion to signal — and thus end — a portray will strike her “like a lightning bolt,” she stated.
“It isn’t one thing that I plan or know rationally. It is spontaneous.”
‘Nature is every part’
Whereas Kang’s absorbing work seem summary at first, they’re usually grounded on this planet round her. However although her creations resemble landscapes, they by no means depict a single particular scene, relatively an amalgamation of sights, recollections and sensations.
“Each second, from once I get up to the time I begin working, is a part of the portray,” stated Kang, who can also be recognized for writing poetry. “And recollections — perhaps from 10 years earlier than — of taking a look at camellias, for instance, can even be built-in.
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“There’s not one figurative manner of expressing what I paint. It is the buildup of observing — attempting to seize the sky, for instance — and actually seize the ‘entire,’ relatively than a selected camellia or a sure rock.”
Set throughout three flooring in Hong Kong, Kang’s newest present brings collectively works from the previous decade, together with the aforementioned “Le temps des camélias.” Spending time with the canvases helps convey the artist’s hazy subject material — whether or not orange blossom, the home of a neighboring optician or clouds swirling in pale blue skies — into sharper focus.
The gallerist behind the present, Arthur de Villepin, believes the work’s magnificence is discovered within the small “particulars” noticed in its firm.
“You see the totally different layers, and also you see that, typically, the brushstrokes might be vivid and fairly fast and characterize a sure a part of her persona,” he stated over the cellphone from the south of France. “Or typically the colours might be very brilliant. Then at different moments the colours fade away, and that capability to place totally different lives at totally different moments … that is what I discovered superb.”
Kang’s work on show at Villepin gallery in Hong Kong. Credit score: Courtesy of Villepin
Full with pure sounds taking part in from hidden audio system, the exhibition serves to move guests away from the busy surrounds of downtown Hong Kong to the bucolic Jeju Island, the place Kang — who lives and works between South Korea and France — nonetheless paints.
“In our minds, nature is grass and timber and flowers,” Kang stated, when requested about her relationship along with her environment. “However nature is every part. Nature is individuals, it is a metropolis, it is historical past … Nature is a bridge to permit dialogue between all issues.”