As a pioneer of contemporary Korean sculpture, Kwon is regarded as the most brilliant sculptor in the 20th century Korean art history. Although Kwon studied and practiced Western sculpture while he was a young student in Japan, Kwon reached beyond the Eastern aesthetics, ultimately arriving at a level of absolute sublime beauty. Through mainly figurative works such as human figures, Kwon conceived the epitome of pure beauty demonstrating the world of profound depth and spiritual purity of his subjects.
KWON JIN KYU: The Essence at PKM Gallery centers around Kwon’s works which he created as a young artist in Japan. These works of valuable sculptures and drawings that explore the materiality of plaster, rock and bronze demonstrate the zenith of sculptural elegance. The exhibition also presents some of his terracotta sculptures which Kwon produced intensively upon his return to Korea. Charged with the aesthetics of the artist, the material of terracotta came at a crucial point in Kwon’s practice, in expressing his absolute sculptural beauty in a more elegant and evolutionary way. Preceding his terracotta self-portrait sculptures and female busts in the aspiration to formally establish Korean-style realism upon returning to Korea, these figurative sculptures in plaster, rock and bronze from Kwon’s days in Japan demonstrate both the sculptural experimentations and the core element of existence which transcend external forms and remove all unnecessary elements. From the point of having produced these works, Kwon was able to work with this immortal series of terracotta sculptures upon his return home.
This exhibition penetrates Kwon’s oeuvre from before and during his terracotta works, and offers a valuable opportunity to take a composed look into the essence of his art world which arrived at a state of pure aesthetics resonating beyond the geographical and temporal boundaries.
Kwon Jin Kyu, who majored in sculpture at the Musashino Art University in Japan, was taught by Professor Takashi Shimizu, a pupil of Antoine Bourdelle, devoted himself to the teachings of realism sculpture. Having received a
special prize at the Nikaten Exhibition, a renowned national competition in Japan in the year of his graduation, Kwon received early recognition for his concise and sharp talent as a sculptor. After returning to Korea from Japan and until his death, Kwon held three solo exhibitions at the Press Center Gallery, Tokyo Nihonbashi, and Myeongdong Gallery, and held a thriving artistic career as an artist as well as a teacher of the Architecture Department at Seoul National University and Sculpture at Hongik University. Kwon’s oeuvre is mainly known for his realistic and robust forms of self-portraits, various sculptural depictions of animals, and female sculptural figures modeled after his acquaintances. With original material using terracotta and lacquer technique, Kwon created a world of figurative sculpture which demonstrates Korean realism.