고충환_평론가

 

 

 

 

 

Meet me in the water, like flowing water

 

Written by Kho, Chung-Hwan / Art Critic

 

 

 

People say that building house next to a river make one depressed. It probably is because you get assimilated with the river looking into it everyday. Getting assimilated with the river and get depressed? Is there some unknown ability in the river? Charm the people to suck them into depression. It only possesses man and captures them, and this, in traditional sense, is a stage of becoming one with the nature. Of course, becoming one means the state of an object and I tear down the boundaries to merge into one. But if we think of it in another dimension of host and guest combining into one, there is no better example than water. Substituting object with water makes the state of becoming one seem more vivid. Like this, water suck in, possess and capture man. Then it put you in depression. In this statement, depression is not just depression itself, but more like analogous expression of the inner side. Water, in other words, put you into depression and in truth into the inner side. Sink in water means sink in the inner side. It means, that water becomes full of inner side, and in that flow every thoughts run like panorama. Like this, water becomes me, and flowing river becomes flowing river of inner side.

 

In this manner, I become water and water becomes me. Therefore the statement that river makes man depressed, means that it actually internalize you and make you meet yourself. As a result, the act of painting water means painting longing for myself (ruminating the mythology of Narcissus), painting longing for the being, and painting longing for the ancestor of existence or canonical existence. (Should I even mention that Albrecht Dürer’s Melencolia was actually portraying an artist, and this means the depression itself is a quality artists are born with, and the fact that the depression actually means the tendency to internalize?)

 

Chang-ae Song paints water. However, it is not just painting water, but paint water with water. Consider it in that water and I become one, you can say that this is an example of even better assimilation. If just painting water keeps the certain distance between water and self and host and guest separated, painting water with water eliminates that distance, and It is easy to be erased case. It must be why the artist paints water with water. Painting water at the same time she wanted to paint water itself (probably has different meaning from Kant’s water itself but also is same) and wanted to become one with water, and like this actually wanted to paint self as painting water. Then she wanted to say that I am water and water is me, and me, existence, world, universe is nothing but water (or something like water.) She must have wanted to paint that state and dimension. (In fact one of her paintings which she composed photos and painted gives an example of the artist becoming one with water.)

 

Before she started painting water, she painted landscape and seas. However, those landscapes and seas couldn’t exactly be called landscapes and seas. They were landscapes like landscape, and seas like sea. To understand what it means, we have to take a look at her unique way of work. First, she applies charcoal and pigment layer on surface and use air compressor to spray air to paint. She paints with what is left behind the wind. Therefore, to be technical, they are paintings done by wind, and like paintings done by wind the forms are not permanent or decisive. Only the prospect of stereotypes caught in the net of cognition remind you of the similar forms when compared to those stereotypes and that form looks like landscapes and seas by coincidence. The artist’s biorhythm enforces the indeterminate and variable characteristics. The artist’s works are, so to speak, painted by wind and biorhythm. Rather than painting with landscapes and seas in mind, the painting painted by wind and biorhythm by chance reminds of landscapes and seas.

 

The artist’s painting should be done fast before the pigment is dry while the wind and pigment still can interact, and so it should be finished at once. This is why she produces many works, and it requires high concentration and intuition. This is why these painting painted like this is like landscapes, seas, flow of aura, wavelengths of energy and light, negative film, and condensed(or spurting) vitality. It reminds of sensitive reality, suggests ideological reality, and evokes natural phenomenon like physical phenomenon.

 

Images are piled up in one image, and this must be because of abundant suggestive power. The artist suggests, rather than settles a form in painting. As known, suggesting is more like emotional skill that extends the painting’s area and category that opens the meaning or form rather than fixing it, so that they can interact with called in other forms and meanings, resulting in suggesting more than what is painted. Maybe art is technique of suggesting, and that technique especially gets reason and appropriateness from the artist’s art works. (Likewise, works with open meaning and forms show, at least with recent works, suggest things that do not exist in water like genitals and faces.)

 

The artist’s recent works have specificity in that they are water painted with water. Accommodating considerable amounts of major methods and results from previous works, it is different in terms that it is painted with water. The artist probably wanted to portrait water itself while drawing shapeless forms, or seas recalling water. Or it could be naturally lead to water by flow of life as these works that powered by the intuition and biorhythm that plays crucial part in painting the painting. Anyhow, the artist paints water, and this time she added water with wind in airbrush. The painting still comes from layer of charcoal and pigment above it, but this time, it is the water that is medium, not wind and the surface effect is comparably more soft, subtle, delicate, and internal. It is as if I am assimilated to the water itself and permeated to be in the process, state and dimension of becoming one. The painting is like watching gentle ripples on the surface of the water, and waves breaking, making small bubbles with tiny shapeless stains.

 

It is painting of inactivity and movement. The inactivity and movement overpasses natural phenomenon to expand into inner landscape. In other words, it is like watching faint light bundle floating in deep darkness, and watching slender thread of conscious wandering around the abyss of unconsciousness. It captures like raging wave closing in, and it leaves dim lingering imagery stepping back to the other side of endless darkness. Suddenly, where am I standing(belong,) am I watching the water outside of the water, or am I watching the water inside the water. If not any, am I watching the water as water? (Is it too sudden to recall the ‘butterfly passage’ of Zhuangzi in which the butterfly becomes one with Zhuangzi and the host and guest becomes one.) Like this, the artist’s water painting is geopolitical position and marks the topology of existence. It is caused by expanded reproduction of water painting from natural phenomenon to inner landscape. To this, the painting style of filling the whole surface with the surface or inside of water conveys the situation logic like I am facing the water itself and assimilated with water realistically.

 

Like this, the artist’s painting drops into water, drops into darkness, drops into unconscious and abyss, drops into the universe and drops into the original and original form in which the existence began. Is it womb or amniotic fluid. Is purgatory nothing, is it death or darkness itself. To the artist, the water itself means water, but to Kant, water is given intuitively and is the reason for sensible existence and is not a subject to reproduce. Under no circumstances can it be reproduced. The artist maybe wanted to paint water itself as painting water, wanted to paint what is inimitable, wanted to disappear without trace with what is inimitable, and wanted to reach the end of existence to burn like fireworks.

 

These capturing or dropping, disappearing or burning is partially to transparent blue. Deep transparent blue is part of the aura of the artist’s recent works with slender bundle of light floating in dark. In romanticism, blue was the color of death, and as we all know romantic period was an era concentrating on the after life rather than current life, and blue was the symbol color that guides to the after life. Only assuming that the interaction of charcoal, pigment, water and the paper’s soaking characteristics made such result, the mysterious color that maybe only the sense would know is borrowed by the artist to reveal the depressing existence, therefore showing the internal abyss of existence and maybe wanted to reach the abyss herself. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Waterscape 1305, 164x130cmx2ea, graphite, acylic on paper, 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

송창애, 흐르는 물처럼, 물속에서 나를 만나다.

 

고충환 평론가

 

 

 

강물 옆에 집을 지으면 사람이 우울해진다고 했다. 허구한 날 강물을 쳐다보고 있으면 강물에 내가 동화되는 탓이리라. 강물에 내가 동화돼 우울해진다? 강물에 내가 모르는 무슨 능력이라도 있는 것일까. 이를테면 사람을 빨아들여 우울하게 만드는 주술이라도 거는 것일까. 사람을 홀리는 것이며 사로잡는 것인데, 전통적인 개념으로 치자면 물아일체의 경지가 되겠다. 물론 물아일체 자체는 사물과 내가 경계를 허물어 하나로 합치되는 경지를 말하는 것이지만, 이처럼 주와 객이 경계를 허물어 하나로 합체되는 차원으로 치자면 물보다 더 적절한 예를 생각하기 어렵다. 사물을 물로 대체해 읽을 때 물아일체의 경지가 더 실감나게 와 닿는다는 말이다. 그렇게 물은 사람을 빨아들이고 홀리고 사로잡는다. 그리고 그렇게 사로잡아 우울에 빠트린다. 여기서 우울은 우울 자체로서보다는 내면의 유비적 표현으로 보아야 한다. 물은 말하자면 우울에 빠트리면서 사실은 내면에 빠트린다. 물에 빠진다는 것은 곧 내면에 빠진다는 것이다. 무슨 말인가. 물이 온통 내면이 된다는 말이며, 그 흐름에 의탁해 온갖 생각들이 파노라마처럼 흐른다는 말이다. 그렇게 물이 곧 내가 된다는 말이며, 흐르는 강물이 곧 내면에 흐르는 강물이 된다는 말이다. 

 

그렇게 나는 물이 되고 물은 내가 된다. 그러므로 강물이 사람을 우울하게 만든다는 것은 사실은 내면화한다는 것이며 자기와 만나지게 만든다는 것이다. 결국 물을 그린다는 것은 나에 대한 그리움을 그린다는 것이며(나르시스의 신화를 되새김질하는 행위?), 존재에 대한 그리움을 그린다는 것이며, 존재의 원형 아님 원형적 존재에 대한 그리움을 그린다는 것이다(여기서 알브레히드 뒤러가 그린 멜랑콜리아가 사실은 예술가를 그린 것이며, 이로써 우울한 기질이야말로 예술가의 타고난 자질이라는 사실을, 그리고 그 우울한 기질은 사실은 내면화의 경향성을 의미하는 것이었음을 굳이 예시해야 할까). 

 

송창애는 물을 그린다. 그런데 그냥 물을 그리는 것이 아니라, 물로써 물을 그린다. 물과 내가 동화되는 것으로 치자면, 그 동화가 더 잘 일어나는 경우로 볼 수 있겠다. 그냥 물을 그리는 것이 물과 나 사이에 일정한 거리두기가 유지되는 경우이며 주와 객이 분리된 경우라고 한다면, 물로써 물을 그리는 것은 그 거리가 삭제된 것이며 소거된 경우이기 쉽다. 아마도 작가가 굳이 물로써 물을 그리는 이유도 이 때문일 것이다. 물을 그리면서 물 자체(아마도 칸트의 물 자체와 그 의미가 다르면서 통할)를 그리고 싶었고, 물에 동화되고 싶었고, 그렇게 물을 그리면서 사실은 나를 그리고 싶었을 것이다. 그리고 그렇게 내가 곧 물이고 물이 곧 나라고 말하고 싶었고, 내가, 존재가, 세계가, 우주가 다름 아닌 물이라고(아님 물과 같은 것이라고) 말하고 싶었을 것이다. 그리고 그런 경지며 차원을 그리고 싶었을 것이다(실제로 작가의 그림 중 사진을 합성해 그린 그림이 물과 작가가 하나로 동화되는 과정을 예시해준다). 

 

작가는 물 이전에 원래 풍경을 그렸었고 바다를 그렸었다. 그러나 그 풍경이며 바다는 반드시 풍경이며 바다라고 부를 수만은 없는 것이었고, 풍경 같은 풍경이며 바다 같은 바다를 그린 것이었다. 무슨 말인가. 이를 이해하기 위해선 그의 독특한 작화방식을 들여다 볼 필요가 있는데, 먼저 흑연 층과 안료 층을 화면에 도포한 연후에 에어브러시로 바람을 뿜어 그림을 그린다. 그렇게 바람이 지나간 자리에 남는 흔적으로서 그림을 그린다. 그러므로 그 흔적은 엄밀하게는 바람이 그린 드로잉이랄 수 있겠고, 바람이 그린 그림답게 그 형태가 고정적이거나 결정적이지는 않다. 다만 인식의 그물망에 붙잡힌 선입견의 지평이 있어서 그 선입견에 견주어 볼 때 어슷비슷한 형태를 떠올려줄 뿐이고, 그 형태가 우연하게 풍경이며 바다처럼 보일 뿐이다. 여기에 작가의 바이오리듬도 이런 비결정적이고 가변적인 성질을 강화시켜준다. 작가의 그림은 말하자면 바람이 그린 것이고 바이오리듬이 그린 것이다. 풍경이며 바다를 전제하고 그린 것이라기보다는 바람이며 바이오리듬이 그린 그림이 우연하게 풍경이며 바다를 떠올려준다는 말이다. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Waterscape 1312, 100x164cm, graphite, sumi ink, acylic on paper, 2013

 

 

 

작가의 그림은 안료 층이 채 마르기 전에, 그래서 바람과 안료가 여전히 상호작용하는 동안에 재빠르게 그려져야 하고, 그래서 일단 시작을 하면 한 번에 끝내야 한다. 유독 작가의 그림이 다작인 이유를 알겠고, 덩달아 고도의 집중력과 직관력이 요구되는 것임을 알겠다. 이렇게 그려진 그림은 그래서 풍경 같고, 바다 같고, 기의 흐름 같고, 에너지의 파동 같고, 빛의 파장 같고, 네거티브 필름 같고, 응축된(아님 분출하는?) 생명력을 그린 그림 같다. 감각적 실재를 떠올리는가 하면, 관념적 실재를 암시하기도 하고, 여기에 물리적 현상과 같은 자연현상마저 상기시켜준다. 하나의 그림 속에 다른 그림들이 포개져 있는데, 아마도 풍부한 암시력 때문일 것이다. 그렇게 작가는 그림 속에 형태를 고정시키기보다는 암시한다. 주지하다시피 암시란 형태나 의미를 고정시키는 대신 어느 정도 열어놓는, 그래서 다른 형태나 의미를 불러들이는, 그리고 그렇게 불러들여진 다른 형태나 의미와의 상호작용을 가능하게 해주는, 그럼으로써 실제로 그려진 것보다 더 많은 것을 암시하는, 그리고 그렇게 그림의 영역이며 범주를 확장시켜주는 감각적 스킬 같은 것이다. 어쩌면 예술이란 이런 암시의 기술일지도 모르고, 그 기술은 특히 작가의 그림에서 설득력을 얻고 당위성을 얻는다(이렇듯 형태나 의미가 열린 그림은 표면적으로 물을 그린 근작에서 적어도 물과는 다른 아님 물에는 없는 것들, 이를테면 성기나 얼굴을 떠올려주는 것으로도 나타난다). 

 

작가의 근작은 물로써 물을 그린 그림이란 점에 그 특정성이 있다고 했다. 전작에서의 주요 과정이며 성과 중 상당부분을 그대로 수용하면서도, 한편으로 물을 사용해 그린 것이란 점에서 결정적으로 다르다. 아마도 그동안 무(비)정형의 형태를 그리면서, 아님 바다를 그리면서 물을 떠올렸을 것이고 물 자체를 그리고 싶었을 것이다. 아님 바이오리듬과 직관력이 그림을 그리게 해주는 결정적인 계기이며 동력으로 작동하는, 그런 종류의 그림인 만큼 생리며 생명의 순리가 자연스레 물로 이끌었을 수도 있겠다. 여하튼 이렇게 작가는 물을 그리는데, 이번에는 에어브러시에 바람과 함께 물을 탑재시켰다. 여전히 흑연 층과 그 위에 도포된 안료 층과의 상호작용에 연유한 그림이지만, 이번에는 바람이 아닌 물이 매개가 되는 것인 만큼 그 표면효과가 상대적으로 더 부드럽고 미묘하고 섬세하고 내면적이다. 마치 물 자체에 내가 동화되고 스며들어 하나가 되는 과정이며 경지며 차원을 그린 것 같다. 그렇게 그림은 수면에 일렁이는 잔잔한 파문을 보는 것 같기도 하고, 미세한 비정형의 얼룩들과 더불어 자잘한 포말을 일으키며 부서지는 파도를 보는 것 같기도 하다. 

 

정과 동을 그린 것인데, 정과 동은 자연현상을 넘어 내면풍경으로 확장된다. 말하자면 칠흑 같은 어둠 속에 희미하게 부유하는 빛의 다발을 보는 것도 같고, 무의식의 심연을 떠도는 한줄기 가녀린 의식의 가닥을 보는 것도 같다. 격랑처럼 육박해와 온통 사로잡는가 하면, 그 끝이며 깊이를 헤아릴 수 없는 어둠 저편으로 물러나 잔잔하고 아련한 여운을 남긴다. 불현듯, 나는 지금 어디에 서(속해져) 있는가. 물 밖에서 물을 쳐다보고 있는가, 아님 물속에서 물을 쳐다보고 있는가, 이도저도 아님 이미 물이 된 내가 물을 쳐다보고 있는가(여기서 불현듯 나비와 장자가 합치되고 주와 객이 합체되는 장자몽을 떠올리는 것은 뜬금없는 일인가). 이처럼 작가의 물 그림은 존재의 지정학적 위치며 존재의 위상학을 주지시킨다. 물 그림이 자연현상을 넘어 내면풍경으로 확대 재생산되는 탓에 일어나는 일이다. 여기에 화면 전체를 수면(아님 수중?)으로 가득 채워 그리는 작화방식이 마치 물 자체와 대면하고 있는 것 같은, 물에 내가 동화되고 있는 것 같은 상황논리를 실감 있게 전해준다. 

 

이처럼 작가의 그림은 물속에 빠트리고, 내면에 빠트리고, 칠흑 같은 어둠속에 빠트리고, 무의식과 심연 속에 빠트리고, 우주 속에 빠트리고, 존재가 유래한 원형이며 원형질 속에 빠트린다. 여기는 자궁인가 양수인가. 연옥인가 무인가. 죽음인가 어둠 자체인가. 작가에게 물 자체는 물을 의미하지만, 칸트에게 물 자체는 선험적으로 소여된 것이며 감각적 실재의 원인으로서 그 자체는 재현의 대상이 아니다. 여하한 경우에도 재현될 수 없다는 말이다. 작가는 혹 물을 그리면서 사실은 물 자체를 그리고 싶었고, 재현될 수 없는 것을 그리고 싶었고, 재현 불가능한 것과 더불어 흔적도 없이 사라지고 싶었고, 그렇게 존재의 궁극에 도달해 폭죽처럼 산화하고 싶었던 것은 아닐까. 

 

이런 사로잡힘 혹은 빠트림, 아님 사라짐 혹은 산화에는 깊고 투명한 블루도 한 몫을 한다. 깊고 투명한 청색은 어둠 속을 부유하는 가녀린 빛의 다발과 함께 작가의 근작을 감싸는 아우라에 속한다. 낭만주의에서 청색은 죽음의 색깔로 알려져 있고, 알다시피 낭만주의는 현세가 아닌 내세에 필이 꽂혀 있었던 시대였었고, 청색은 바로 그 내세로 인도해주는 상징 색이었다. 다만 흑연과 안료와 물의 상호작용이며 여기에 종이의 흡수하는 성질이 어우러져 만들어냈을 것으로 추정할 뿐인, 아마도 감각만이 알고 있을 이 오묘한 색깔을 빌려 작가는 우울한 존재, 그러므로 내면적인 존재의 심연을 드러내고 싶었고 그 자신 이 심연에 도달하고 싶었던 것은 아닐까. 

 

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