Persona January, 11th 2019 by

World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces, 196 - Jung Hyun Oh

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World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces, 196 – Jung Hyun Oh
Jung Hyun Oh was born in Seoul, South Korea, but has lived in the Netherlands since 2011. From 2016 he lives and works in Amsterdam. He recently had his first solo exhibition in the Netherlands, ‘Fragmentary Thoughts’ in the MLB Gallery in Amsterdam. I spoke with Jung about his ideas and artworks in the gallery.
Jung’s paintings consist of delineated colored fragments that together form a unity in which you can recognize everything, from people to animals to even a complete continent. In his work Ecstasies (2017) I saw the American continent.

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This approach stems from Jung’s view of man. Jung: “In my view, every being consists of small parts or surfaces. I apply this idea in an abstract way to my work. My works tell about my way of looking and thinking about elements and fragments of the being(s) in our lives.” He shares his first name with the surname of Carl Jung, the founder of analytical psychology and the inventor of the ‘archetypes’. Jung knows him and his work. “I love Carl Jung and his way of looking.”

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Jung Hyun Oh picks up the elements in his work and then distorts and assembles them. “In a methodological way I try to create certain ambiguous forms, these forms are atypical. Every work has its own meaning. I do not want to force the spectator to read a special meaning in my work. It gets different interpretations by different spectators. Because everyone has their own thoughts and experiences in life, the meaning of art comes from the piece itself. “

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Two- and three-dimensional
In order to realize his ideas he makes both two-dimensional work (drawings and paintings) and three-dimensional work. In the latter he uses various materials, such as paint, plaster, metal and clay. In the windowsill there is a work that looks like a root system, where the roots branch out and return in a labyrinthine way. It is made of plaster that he has given different colors with pigments.

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Key work
Does he have a key work, a work that gives direction? He has. The key work in the exhibition is ‘Ecstasies’. “It starts with my chaotic imagination, I have many words and feelings in my head that I want to convert to lines. I make a lot of sketches and I choose one to go on. There is a lot of spontaneity, my hand goes automatically. It is a battle between open and closed, conscious and unconscious, freedom and limitation.” He only draws the lines on the painting at the last. See:

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Another key work is Somnambulism (Sleepwalking) (2015). We see a kind of big bear that sleepwalks with his hands forward. “It is the first in a series with the use of a geometric composition. I tried to paint in a different, more direct way.

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The original idea comes from an experience I had when I lived in an unsafe country for six months because of my girlfriend’s work. It was not safe to walk outside the walls of our compound. From there came a great desire for freedom. I fantasized about walking outside in the fields. The scene includes a grotesque figure who wears a helmet or a mask with wings, and who walks in a sea of flowers. Many people see a bear in the picture. That was not my original intention, but it is not important that it has been given this form. I enjoyed it, and that even more when I see other people enjoying it. It is a big work, two meters high, it is in my studio. “

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Jung Hyun Oh attended the Art Academy in Korea. It is part of the university there. In addition to art courses, he also took courses such as philosophy, economics and sociology. After four years he obtained a Bachelor’s degree in the Craft & Design department. Then he also obtained a Master of Fine Arts in Ceramics. He set up his own ceramics studio. After a few years he wanted to specialize further in sculpture. For that he went to Europe, to the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera, a famous art academy in Milan. That training lasted four years. “I had good teachers, including the supervisor Filippo Scimeca.”

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Breeding ground for creatives
He came to the Netherlands for love reasons. Amsterdam also attracted him because of artists like Karel Appel and other Cobra artists, as well as Rembrandt. His studio is located in a breeding ground for creatives, Stichting Xpositron, in Amsterdam Sloterdijk. See:


“Amsterdam is a special city”, says Jung, “but not nearly as busy as Seoul with its nearly 10 million inhabitants.” Every year he goes back to South Korea for a short while.
Images: 1) “Ecstasies”, acrylic on jute, 100 x 150 cm, 2) “Teddy”, 2018, acrylic on jute, 60 x 90 cm, 3) “Face” 2018, acrylic on jute, 60 x 70 cm, 4) ) “Wounded-I”, 2018, acrylic on jute, 60 x 100 cm, 5) “Connection”, 2018, acrylic on jute, 100 x 120 cm, 6) “Sympathy”, acrylic on jute, 120 x 140 cm, 7) “Somnambulism “, acrylic on linen, 120 × 200 cm, 8) )” Blue Janus “, steel mesh, textile, plaster, pigment, lacquer, h. approximately 113 cm, 9) ink on paper, 14.8 x 21 cm, 10) portrait Jung H. Oh


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