Park Nung-saeng

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Bunge Hump Series
Acrylic, Korean Ink on Canvas, 91x72cm
Seoul Scenery
Korean Ink on Paper, 140x291cm

Seoul Scenery
Korean Ink on canvas, 91x72cm

Aspects of Experiments with Form, Significant Points
                                                                                                                      Kho Chung-hwan, Art Critic

The City Series
Like the majority of artists, Park Nung-saeng begins his work from the basis of his daily life. Park’s foundation is the city. For Park, the city emerges as a mood rendered by blurring and deconstructing details through abbreviation and enriched ink shades. The queues of cars packing the road, urban nightscapes seemingly enticing us with dazzling lights, and crowds of pedestrians traversing the streets against a background of neon seem dynamic, but in his painting all these scenes appear subdued in the darkness of ink. In his works, urban desire seems encroached on by the dark, and all scenes are eaten by a mood of gloom, murk, and darkness. This desire is at times represented in an enormous wall of ink like a gigantic monument, with the alienation of contemporary humans dwarfed and confined within. His work transforms the sensuous material of urban desire into an semi-abstract atmosphere.

The Mountain Going Series
The specificity of landscape is clarified by invoking it diverse names. This is perhaps a natural phenomenon to differentiate modern landscape painting. Park Nung-saeng’s landscapes are entirely daubed with red. As this red pigment is transparent, his landscapes make viewers have a visual experience as if looking through red cellophane paper. This filter is a means the artist uses when he sees or interprets the world. Park sets mountain goers in landscapes seen through an optical, psychological, and interpretative filter. Here, conventional landscapes address the concept of mountain going. As mountain going is a commonplace activity of people, modern landscapes devoid of people are so rare. Landscapes have become the object of leisure, exercise, sightseeing, or pilgrimage and now seem unrelated with the conventional concept of landscapes as the object of appreciation and contemplation. Climbing or bungee jumping, depicted in his painting, is also in the same context. Park’s landscapes reconfirm an aspect of change in the concept of landscape from an object of meditation to that of mundane activity.

The India Series / The Nanji Series
These series consist of two types of paintings: travelogue-type paintings and site-specific paintings. Paintings featuring Indian scenes as in a travelogue involve imagination and memory in on-the-spot photographs and sketches, exemplifying the unique points a landscape represents.
Although faithful to sketches made at the scene, Park creates his own abstract impression. In these paintings the texture is represented in seemingly transparent yet plain tones, while the land that seems floating and detached from any context is symbolic of the spirit of India. The land is a metaphor for a microcosm, an isolated isle, or a lonely life. On the contrary, Nanji seems like a map whose substance appears vivid as if one could touch it. This series, divided by the low ridges covered with low growing trees, implies Nanji’s humble ecological environment.
These serial pieces demonstrate eye-catching experiments with form different from other paintings. Rich pictorial texture is exuded in the harmony of ink, oil, and charcoal sketches that take advantage of hanji’s moisture absorption quality. These sketches seem to flow down like rain, and fixed forms are shattered into organic masses. These scenes, properly rendered by humble texture and composed tones, lend corporeality to landscapes, evoking emotion. Lines in these paintings serve to shatter forms rather than divide them. The overlap of deconstructed forms and divided forms establish the various spectrums of the landscape.

The Seoul Landscape and recent canvas paintings
Every artist who majored in Korean painting probably has a wish to depict mountains from which the entirety of a city can be seen. Park’s paintings Seoul Landscape and Daejon Landscape are good examples of this wish. In Seoul Landscape, the mountains surrounding Seoul are unfolded on the same plane. This painting pays homage to traditional scroll painting, using the panoramic technique in terms of form. As is widely known, in scroll painting an entire scene is imagined from partial appreciations. Appreciating this type of painting is closer to reading a painting than seeing a painting. Park’s paintings induce viewers to read, owing to their huge scale.
Park recently attempts canvas paintings. In hanji painting, pigments become one with the paper, literally soaking into it. In canvas painting they form an opaque layer on the surface. In this painting transparent material is contrasted with opaque material and the texture that becomes one with the surface is contrasted with a layered effect. We look forward to the possibilities he will open through the use different materials.