The Seventh Solo Exhibition of Lee Gi Seong: The Story of 'Colorful'-'Energy(氣)', 'Movement(運)', 'Life(生)', 'Dynamic(動)'

Is the conscious intention of an existence just in vain in a place where there is the clash of the original energies of all things in the universe? It is often the case that the routine of human life fails to go right as originally intended, no matter how hard we struggle to make it go right. We sometimes face the time when we must lose our whole grip of the cart of will. Isn't it until we let go of our grip of the cart of will that we get the true freedom?

Looking at the dancing "colorful dots" by Lee Gi Seong, I get caught with the fantasy in which the original energies of all things seem to clash and upheave one another. The flowing of the colorful dots leads me to witness the chaos itself where there is an immemorial opening of the heaven and the earth along with the condensation and dispersion of the yin-yang in disorder. The chaos exists beyond the recognition of human beings' sense. What he is saying is that the color of a thing which he consciously takes a look at is not the thing that clarifies its original nature.

. . .When looking at the colors, I have believed that I see something outside me. And I still believe that it is similar to the idea I experienced from within. That is something to be perceived just in a state of sense and consciousness. However, only if I regard dream as something that exists outside mind, I can never recognize what it is clearly. . . What matters to me now is not the original nature of substance or objects, but the time to keep dreaming and thinking even if I might live in a great deal of errors...(from the artist's note)

There is no choice but to get amazed at the artist Lee Gi Seong's amazing discovery. It is his positive attitude toward life, which never tries to avoid the chaos, that keeps him from falling into nihilism. What is important to him is not to clarify "the original nature of substance and objects" but to "keep dreaming" without giving up hope "even if he might live in . . . errors". The flowing of colorful dots! That is the whirlpool of life itself in which creation and extinction, inevitability and coincidence intersect each other, and that is also the intersection where consciousness and unconsciousness of human beings' mind overlap. In this intersection, the energies of unconsciousness underlying in the base of consciousness work better than consciousness as energies to decide what human beings do.

A technique has ever been tried to recognize the significance of unconsciousness and rule out the control of consciousness in artistic expressions by some American abstract expressionists as well as a small group of surrealists. For example, a surrealist Andre Masson dealt harshly with the body in a conscious way in order to rule out the activities of consciousness and increase the role of unconsciousness as much as possible. Surrealists, who took the idea of psychoanalysis by Freud as their model for their artistic activities, insisted strongly that not only personal actions but also the history of human beings was the product of unconsciousness rather than that of consciousness. An abstract expressionist Jackson Pollock also expressed the world of unconsciousness through action painting by accepting automatism of surrealists through writing and drawing unconsciously. However, he used to show a self-torturing way such as relying excessively on alcohol to control consciousness.

On the other hand, the world of unconsciousness by Lee Gi Seong is different from that of western artists. He never depends on self-torturing ways like extreme fasting, no sleeping as well as alcohol and drug. All he does is to leave the body and mind up to the law of nature when the environment of physical and mental working gets ready. The marbling technique produced by the clash between water and the oil of oil colors makes him get out of his conscious control, finally giving us an opportunity to feel the moment of extrasensory instant which we cannot but follow the law of nature. While it is an conscious action to decide the direction in order to spray colors after smearing water on a canvas with a brush and choosing colors of the paints, the process in which once paints sprayed on water take a form in the canvas lies beyond consciousness.

It is inferred that the intentional unconsciousness of the western artists mentioned above might have tried to express the border of unconsciousness transcending consciousness. However, symbolic styles of destruction and disintegration is strongly contained in the desires lying in their world of unconsciousness. It is true that the field of western modern art expressing such things as "abjectness", "strangeness", "unreasonableness" takes the role as a critic of the real world, but in part fails to present a hopeful alternative. The "colorful dots" of Lee Gi Sung is a symbolic metaphor of hope and enthusiasm rising from the chaotic disorder. That is the key to 'energy(氣)', 'movement(運)', 'life(生)', 'dynamic(動)' which presents the hope for "living well" going beyond the range of criticism. That is also the point that distinguishes a Western painter Lee Gi Sung with Oriental background from Western painters with Western background. In this point, I sincerely hope that "The Story of 'Colorful'" by an artist Lee Gi Sung, who keeps trying to look for his identity, will be "an exhibition of hope" in the next new year Junghae in which everyone tries to rise again overcoming despair and frustration.

Dec. 31, 2006 Huh, Jeong Seon(Aesthetics.Art Criticism)