Dongwan Kook

Dongwan Kook deals with the unconscious and the process of approaching the unconscious through drawing, painting, sculpture, and books. While archiving her dreams since 2007, Kook has transformed the relationship between herself and her dreams into the characteristics of books and sculptures by comparing them to the arbitrary relationship between language and memory. As she once said, “Returning the illumination to the source of light (回光返照)” is a unique drawing style for the artist, someone who uses free association. It is her way to discover herself living in the present and she develops a series of paintings that magnify the drawing hundreds of times by observing the unconscious. As she deals with her dreams, Kook shifts her disciplined gaze to social phenomena that penetrate her life, paying attention to the formative interface between individuals and society.

Outbreak 900x, Stay at home please 900x

The artist’s free association with drawing captures the images generated by her hand, and automatically reacts to the shadows created by the light behind the objects that she wants to draw. She does not interfere with the hand’s movement, does not sketch, does not modify the images, and accepts everything that is drawn. As a result, her drawings frequently show images that seem irrelevant to the objects under the paper. In this work, the images are the immediate response of the artist’s hand to specific factors such as the size, font, weight, and letter space of characters placed under the paper where the drawings take place. The 900x Magnification series was created by painting the drawings revealed in such a way to be 900 times bigger.

The 900-fold magnification is the result of her calculation after she tried drawing the maximum scale she could draw using her arms as a tool. The reason for painting the drawing in an enlarged scale is in the same context with her act of recording and reading her dreams repeatedly for more than a decade. Just as the record of her dreams feels different every time she reads them, the inner images that she catches through free association appear different, depending on the gestures in which she paints them. When the magnification work is done, she attaches paper tape onto the lines left blank in the drawing, paints the surroundings, and tears the tape off to reverse the original positions of the faces and lines. Thus, it is like looking at an unknown world repeatedly through opposite gestures and scale, with a coincidence in painting the work based on the same drawing.

Outbreak_900× is a 900-fold magnification painting of the drawing Outbreak that was drawn in graphite on paper. Stay at Home Please_900× is a 900-fold magnification painting of the drawing Stay at Home Please drawn in graphite on paper. In 2020, when the pandemic started. This was a time when a lot of words and terms began to be used quite commonly: stay at home, I promise I stay, 2020, distancing, outbreak, trend, group, connection. When recommended to stay at home, people experienced complex emotions, and words repeatedly heard in the news and communities have gained more serious meaning over time. The artist carried out this work with the desire to see how seemingly familiar but unfamiliar situations—such as the number “2020,” which was a symbol of future society in the past, and the Korean word “trend” made us think of infectious diseases rather than fashion for the first time—passes through herself.

  • 2021
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Under the theme of harmony and balance, “Presence and Persistence” invites 11 teams of artists from Korea and other counties who have shown positive and creative homeostasis, including Helmo (Montreuil, France) and Miju Lee (Busan, Korea), There is also the in-house Ghost Collective (Seoul), Studio Spass (Rotterdam), Club Sans (Seoul, Reims), Bin Koh (Amsterdam), Simo Tse (Amsterdam), Dongwan Kook (Seoul), Naky Hwang (London), and TUKATA® (Incheon). Works by these artists invited from a number of cities are installed all over the exhibition venue, and Culture Station Seoul 284 connects all these different parts of the event. This part consists of leading works of Typojanchi 2021, expressing the theme “Typography and Life” in the most profound way.

Slowly with a turtle
Quickly with a crane
With a Turtle
With a Crane