On special days, we need a story not to wait alone, to remain forgotten
by AHN, SANG-HOON
Gallery Chosun hosted On special days, we need a story ― not to wait alone, to remain forgotten, A solo exhibition of the work of Ahn Sanghoon, from 8 October 2020 to 29 October 2020.The exhibition was the artist’s second solo exhibition at Gallery Chosun, following My shoes are a bit more colorful in 2018. The artist featured about 20 new works through this exhibition, including a mural on the exterior of the Gallery Chosun building and paintings on canvases and panels.Ahn Sanghoon has long explored the potential of transient and emergent paintings that form as they transcend the boundaries of the surface and exterior of a canvas. In previous exhibitions, he would paint on temporary materials such as vinyl or plywood, and he would scrap all of his work after the exhibitions; this process can be described as a part of the experimentation involved in his explorations.This exhibition fundamentally resonates with Ahn’s previous experimentation. The exhibition included not only paintings on canvas, but also those conducted on fragile, transient support, like wooden planks and the exterior wall of Gallery Chosun, spaces and materials that may be considered as unfit for painting in a conventional sense.While the canvas paintings were primarily displayed in the underground exhibition space of Gallery Chosun, the plywood experimentations were located on the second floor. The mural on the exterior walls of the exhibition space also served the function of an advertising banner and was a temporary painting that was erased once the exhibition was over. While the exhibition was thus in a sense an extension of Ahn’s previous experimentations, it also incorporated his new ideas on how to process words that he impulsively interjected to paintings. In this process the artist integrated phrases and words that he came across in Google searches. Almost all exhibited works, thus, incorporate letters.Although these letters composing sentences and phrases evoked particular meaning, that meaning did reference or reflect a single, larger meaning. These phrases were obtained through pure coincidence, and so there was no relevance between the different phrases. And the images in the paintings did not quite reflect the content of these phrases either. It is perhaps better to say that these phrases float in a fragmented state. Despite being words, these letters occasionally appeared to function as images that constituted a part of the composition.On special days, we need a story ― not to wait alone, to remain forgotten, was lengthy title that was almost literary in a sense. However, it was a combination of phrases that the artist combined at whim, and thus it did not contain a particular meaning at all. The title of the exhibition itself was therefore part of the experimentation set out therein.In the present day during which feed-based communication is the norm, images and words are regularly disassembled and rearranged within countless contexts. faced with this circumstance, the medium and practice of painting cannot remain isolated in an ivory tower. This is why Ahn’s attempts to continuously populate his paintings with the contemporary motifs of transience and coincidence are all the more meaningful.As such, Ahn’s experiments can be seen as a part of the wider framework of creative explorations that tap into the potential of the painterly medium, an art form that is still being practiced and attracting audiences, despite the declaration of the “end of painting.” Although Ahn stubbornly insists upon adopting this historically established medium, he does not slavish follow the longstanding traditions of the art form. The obvious presence of his bold explorations, in fact help to shed a clear light on the place where we stand in wider critical and historical terms.