|Choi Kyong-moon, Kissing What is Finite
Seo Seong-nok (President of the Korean Art Critics Association)
A transparent glass bottle, the glitter of light, dangling water drops, refracted images and the actual objects, and the irresistible lure of roses: These are some of the characteristics observed in Choi Kyong-moon's drawings. Choi emerged together with the winds of hyperrealism that stirred up the world of art. Since holding his first private exhibition in 2003, Choi has been holding a private exhibition two or three times a year. This demonstrates the artist's great passion for creativity.
When one hears the name Choi Kyong-moon, one is easily reminded of an image of a glass bottle. It is true that glass bottles play a substantial role in his works. To Choi, glass bottles hold special memories. One of the reasons is because his mother had a collection of beautiful glass bottles, but a more important reason is because each of the bottles embodies a specific story or has a different figure. Works of art are triggered by profound thoughts, but are also created based on trivial experiences. (I didn't know there were so many different types of glass bottles - vase, wine glass, crystal cup, perfume bottle, fruit salad bowl, etc.) Choi transforms what we see in daily life into subjects of art. The usage of a glass bottle becomes different according to the content that it contains. Likewise, Choi stirs a sense of excitement in the audience by placing his views in glass bottles.
Let's take a look at Choi's <Glassscape>. It is not clear whether Choi's focus is on the glass bottle or the rose, but most glass bottles have all sorts of roses placed inside. A lonely rose is inside a bottle at times, while several roses hug one another inside a bottle at other times to decorate Choi's <Glassscape>. The rose inside a glass bottle looks contorted, but the rose with its face outside the glass bottle shows its real appearance. Delivering the actual image of a rose is not difficult, but drawing a contorted image of a rose is an entirely different matter. The contours of petals are slightly crushed and the colors are lightened to achieve anamorphosis. This is how Choi shows two aspects of a rose, with its form and color transformed.
An important element of Choi's works is texture. Although drawings cannot satisfy all of the five senses, they can satisfy the sense of sight and touch. Choi seeks to satisfy the audience's sense of touch especially through his descriptions of glass bottles. His glass bottles are described in a way that vividly shows whether they are heavy, lightweight, smooth, rough, or hard as if the audience were looking or touching the real thing. What is surprising is that what we see is transformed into a sense of touch.
And what about the water drops on the glass surface? His works feature water drops on the glass surface as if they were dewdrops. They deliver a refreshing feel, which usually comes with biting into an unripe apple. They say that people's senses become surprised when they see something new. One looks at something new with awe, but the sense of admiration decreases when the person sees the object the second time. Choi's drawings refuse such momentary tendencies of people's senses. Although his works are based on the same senses, they give enjoyment to the audience every time. Various elements - the cool, lively, and overflowing shades, the glass that looks like the real thing, and the expansion of fragmentary images - come together to assist his works of art and reinforce tactility.
What is interesting is that the artist does not repeat the same thing. Rather than repeating the same repertory, he makes a wide variety of formative attempts. It may seem like the artist is using the same glass bottle for different drawings, but the overall atmosphere of each bottle is different, such as its composition or color. This is one of the examples that show that Choi gives deep thought to his work. Some of his works use digital colors and images of fashion models. With regards to the work that uses digital colors, Choi applied fluorescent paints with cadmium, considering that people in modern society are accustomed to monitor colors. This work embodies the inquiring spirit of the artist, who is seeking to create new types of drawings that are appropriate for the digital era. In other works, the artist places slim fashion models in glass bottles instead of roses. Choi placed an equal level of emphasis on roses and glass bottles, but in these works the fashion models look blurry while the water drops are emphasized.
Overall, his works are strong in their aesthetic aspects, but also embody implications about people in modern society. The distorted images inside the glass bottles symbolize something people want to hide, shun, and try to cover with something else. Choi also uses various elements to communicate the momentary aspects of existence, such as water drops that temporarily dangle from objects, roses that symbolize a single season of prosperity, a clock that makes what is existing now into something of the past, and fashion and perfumes that symbolize ostentation and vanity (Chanel, Armani, Christian Dior, Gucci, etc.). They allude to the lives of people in modern society who are not free from the desire and struggles to make themselves stand out, hidden behind their splendidness that is like fireworks in the night skies.
Choi's drawings are extremely refined to the extent that they are appetizing in some aspects. The artist tries to contain in the glass bottles images that symbolize both beauty and finite aspects. We might feel attached to them more because they will disappear sooner or later. We are weak in that we easily give way to what is now in front of our eyes but will soon disappear and be forgotten in the near future. Against this backdrop, we live with hesitation, not knowing where to fix our eyes. As an artist who pursues beauty, Choi attempts to break away from beauty but also shows his desire to hold beauty in his arms infinitely. A poem by William Blake goes "Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand. And Eternity in an hour." This is what we desire. It seems like Choi is telling us to maintain balance between sensory temptations and a strong mind.