In 2017, Art Paris Art Fair directed its focus on Korea. The Mo.j gallery (Busan), opened in 2010 in collaboration with Fan Foundation and exhibiting for the first time at the fair, invites you to relive this focus. The works of Dansaekhwa artists, Lee Ufan’s brush strokes and the writings of Park Seo-bo, are in correspondence with the works of J Young, their youngest at about thirty years. Formally, J Young’s works recall those of his two compatriots – he followed the teachings of Park Seo-bo, with whom he frequently corresponds. However, do not confuse them. “Dansaekhwa represents tradition, I am more oriented towards modernity. If Park Seo-bo and Lee Ufan have been exhibited alongside my works, it’s more to mark our differences than our similarities,” says J Young.
His compositions oscillate between sculpture and painting. They are monochrome, often blue; white, black or sometimes pink. Created from an accumulation of sheets of metal, gesso, and hanji paper, they are not angular. They open in space, they are chipped. Most are formed of a multitude of squares, themselves folded, which create a scale effect with the composition as a whole. “In a certain way, these squares refer to the men of modern society; They are a part of a bigger whole. There is an echo between the individual and society. The same echo exists between these squares and the work they form.”
These works that make up the series Moment, started four years ago. The “moment” is brief time, the duration that marks man. For J Young, “these traces are also the representation of the fragility of man. They refer back to the traces of time; These are physical and psychological wrinkles.” Created by the folding of sheet metal plates, in a violent effort, these wrinkles are ultimately contemplative.
“Progress brings benefits and prosperity. It also leads to forms of alienation. The works I create are contemplative, they are transporting. Anyone can understand them, feel a peaceful emotion.” J Young is haunted by the universality of pictorial language in the visual arts. In 1990, he founded “Golden Apple Group”, a collective whose objective was to fight against the strong divide between academicism and new artistic forms, between traditional art and Western art. It was necessary to speak to man, to society. “What are these walls used for?” “He said, pointing out that one of his series was called Dialogue.
It is in the same spirit that he agreed to be hung next to a work by Houston Maludi, loaned by André Magnin, in order to correspond to the African focus of the fair, but always in this will to dialogue. J Young is convinced of this, two distant cultures can exchange in art, because his language is universal. “Up close, the works of Houston Maludi represent African life by a multitude of figures, as my squares refer to Korean society. By far, they have a more monochromatic aspect, which also recalls my work.” The circle is complete.