Ascaso Gallery is pleased to welcome “We All Shine on,” a solo exhibition by Ha Haengeun.
In her recent works, Ha Haengeun is interested in an “instant,” or every instant that ultimately consists of life. Having contemplated the meaning of life, the artist realized that life is instant, yet it is the continuity of every single instant that operates human history. She came to believe that capturing the slightest moment in life is her task as an artist. She observes patiently where and how each capricious instant is headed.
This makes it understandable why Ha summons up her childhood memory of magical girl transformations in Japanese anime to paint her works. In magical girl anime, the transformations usually occur in a flash, and the visualization of the transformations often involves countless twinkling lights. These scenes are truly mesmerizing. By bringing the twinkling lights of magical girl transformations onto her canvas, Ha captures the captivating moments, shows their beauty, and offers the experience of ephemera (which is worthwhile) to the audience. As she pursues the change, the moment, and the eternity gained from capturing the instant, Ha realizes that the zeal itself in obtaining them is significant. The zeal of her for the unseen is unusual, as if it won’t run out.
The curious figure known as “Old Child,” “Border Rider,” “NaNa,” “Bulyi,” and “HANA” is the result of Ha’s continued research on the unseen. The figure illustrates a newborn baby’s face and an old human’s. For her, it was the closest image of what she could possibly do to depict the unseen. Deepening her research on the unseen, which she has long grappled with to make visible, Ha translates her imagery into more contemporary forms. She once resorted to art historical research, but now, she associates herself with the world today, visual culture today, and activities today. In other words, Ha’s figure has been increasingly interested in her surroundings and the contemporary world. Now, the artist attains “contemporaneity” in her lexicon.
In Ha Haengeun’s work, light is essential. She observes its brightness and fleeting nature and interprets it into an artistic language of her own. Thus, light exists whether it is visually present or not; it transmits her humanlike figure to the world. It guides the figure to hope and freedom. Also, light brightens its surroundings; ambiguity disappears, and clarity arises. Although light has played a part or two in her earlier works, the presence of light in the works at this exhibition is unparalleled. Light demonstrates the artist’s will to catch the unseen and keep envisioning complete freedom. Sourced from a subtitle of a John Lennon song (i.e., Instant Karma! (We All Shine On)) that addresses Lennon’s message of unity and hope, the exhibition title “We All Shine on” is designed to brighten up all of us human beings. This is an invitation to celebrate each one of us, saying, “We all shine on!”
About the artist:
Ha Haengeun was born in Jindo, South Korea in 1985. She received her BFA from Hongik University. After her first solo exhibition in Korea in 2010, her work has been shown in exhibitions worldwide, including in Korea (Seoul, Busan, Daegu, etc.), Austria (Millstatt), Germany (Karlsruhe, Cologne, and Frankfurt), France (Paris and Marseille), Netherlands (Amsterdam), Japan (Tokyo and Fukuoka), United Kingdom (London), USA (Hawaii, Los Angeles, and Portland), Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Spain (Menorca). Through the disturbing beauty of her curious humanlike character, Ha expresses her questions about life, art, nature, human(ity), and self. Light has been a way to explore these issues and helped her find the great things in life — love, hope, and freedom. Currently, she lives and works in Seoul, South Korea.
The Emerald Sea in my Dream, 2023. Acrylic on canvas. 210 x 153 cm | 82.6 x 60.2 in.
The deep blue Sea in my childhood, 2023. Acrylic on canvas. 174 x 164 cm | 68.5 x 64.5 in.
The Team T, 2023. Acrylic on canvas. 174 x 164 cm | 68.5 x 64.5 in.
The Team S, 2023. Acrylic on canvas. 174 x 164 cm | 68.5 x 64.5 in.
The Team A, 2023. Acrylic on canvas. 174 x 164 cm | 68.5 x 64.5 in.
The Team R, 2023. Acrylic on canvas. 174 x 164 cm | 68.5 x 64.5 in.
The Hopeful Boy, 2023. Acrylic on canvas. 144 x 164 cm | 56.6 x 64.5 in.
The Lovely Thinker, 2023. Acrylic on canvas. 144 x 164 cm | 56.6 x 64.5 in.
The Spiritual Thinker, 2023. Acrylic on canvas. 174 x 164 cm | 68.5 x 91.3 in.
Zeal for Hope, 2023. Acrylic on canvas. 195 x 164 cm | 76.7 x 64.5 in.
The Girl – Alpha, 2023. Acrylic on canvas. 164 x 232 cm. | 64.5 x 91.3 in.
The Boy Omega. Acrylic on canvas. 164 x 232 cm | 64.5 x 91.3 in.
We all shine on, 2023. Acrylic on canvas. 31.8 x 31.8 cm | 12.5 x 12.5 in.