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Creative giants from Hirst to Hambling have produced masterpieces a few centimetres across for a scaled-down show
With public art collections closed we are bringing the art to you, exploring highlights and hidden gems from across the country in partnership with Art UK. Today’s pick: Guildford’s De Morgan Collection’s Lux in Tenebris.
Swollen, glistening, and saturated with illusion, the ubiquitous water drop absorbed Kim Tschang-Yeul throughout his career. The Korean artist, who died earlier this year, was faithful to the seemingly mundane subject matter, choosing to depict the dewy orbs repeatedly after an initial painting in 1972 following his relocation to France. Inspired originally by a water-soaked canvas in his studio, Kim nurtured the viscous element in his hyperrealistic paintings created across nearly five decades. In an essay about the artist’s unending commitment, Dr. Cleo Roberts writes:
It is a tendency that seems to unite many of Korea’s avant-garde who took from Art Informel in the early ‘60s, including Ha Chong-Hyun and Park Seo-Bo. In this generation of artists, there is a ritualistic devotion to a chosen form, process, and, at times, colour. One could venture that, in the context of living in a volatile country ravaged by war, the security of immersion in a singular mode was an empowering choice, and may have been a necessary psychological counterpoint.
Whether depicting a singular pendant-shaped drop or canvas strewn with perfectly round bulbs, each of the oil-based works exhibits a deft approach to shadow and texture. The bloated forms appear to bead on the surface and are imbued with a sense of impermanence: if disturbed by even a small movement, they look as if they could burst or run down the surface.
From the tight medieval alleys of Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter to Eixample’s carefully planned, uniquely shaped octangular blocks (the cut-off corners transform every intersection into more open plazas), Barcelona bursts with history, spirit, and inspiration—it’s a city that renders even the most fervent minimalist design lovers speechless and transforms them into romantics, with a little help from Gaudí and friends. In between the voluptuous, biomorphic, elaborate, and ornate Catalan takes on Art Nouveau (aka Modernisme), below are recommendations for where to stop and take a breath. For additional Barcelona take a look at our Word of Mouth: Barcelona guide from earlier this year and our personal notes on visiting the city.
The Tokyo-based illustrator and artist turns to the web rather than the outdoors for inspiration. She’s fascinated by the impartial gaze that Google’s location tool offers, and transforms this neutrality into subjectivity through silky-smooth, painterly interpretations.