Changhong Ahn’s digital pen drawing
February 15 - March 13, 2021
Changhong Ahn’s digital pen drawing series, Haunting Loneliness is not an elaboration on the ‘aesthetics of the emptying.’ In fact, it calls out the ‘vanity of being emptied.’ A transparent model stands alone in the paintings, and no matter how the figure poses, the model’s invisibility makes it utterly despondent. The colorful and unique fashion symbolizes the faces of modern people today. But, with what beliefs do the owners of these outfit live their lives? Is it possible for them to revive their fiery passion for life? It is hard to guess.
The Korean title for this digital pen drawing series, which is titled Haunting Loneliness in English, can be literally translated as ‘the Ghost Fashion’; Its dictionary definition may be ‘the unforgettable solitude or loneliness (because of beauty, sorrow or fear).’ Ahn focuses not on what a model is wearing, but on the psychological state of the model. The desire described by Ahn contains the insight of balance that warns against the excessive greed. On the other hand, it is a lucid dream that helps acknowledge the pains and sufferings of our time.
The blindfolded portraits first began in 2012 with the Arirang series that indirectly suggested expressions of the joys and sorrows of the Korean people. On his solo exhibition, Ahn had explained, “When the figures close their eyes, the viewers will be able to see their inner world.” His way of expressing using blindfolds or hollow eyes is consistent in his new Haunting Loneliness series. The light and shadows of the mass-consumerism society, the cavitation and the emptiness of the cities, people wandering in it like ghosts, the violence and savagery hidden behind extravagance, a flood of materials and the evaporating psyche, a city of ghosts inhabiting only in shells... Changhong Ahn’s Haunting Loneliness substitutes for ‘Jinhon-seosi (a Requiem Prologue)’ in regards to deficiency and loss.
The element that connects his previous works with the new digital drawings is the artist’s enduring awareness of the ‘functional relations among capital, sex and power.’ Research on the violent nature and desires of humans is the sustaining root that support the ‘Ahn-style artwork.’ The background of the artist’s synopsis for his works are the recurring theme of life in modern cities where we reside. It is fascinating to see how Changhong Ahn conveys his message without destroying the modernity and sophisticated fashion style of the photographs.
Ahn’s journey as an artist was always accompanied by controversies. He consistently shocked the art world with stimulating works whenever he unveiled new ones. But, this does not mean that he disrespects the social norms. Rather, Ahn is setting the example of dismissing the stagnant and opening new paths. At first, they seem a bit confusing and chaotic, but with time, we learn hardly any of his suggestions were wrong. While the contents and the range of expression in previous works were the main issues in the past, the recent digital pen drawings compel us to think again about the materials and methods for expression and gives us opportunity to reconsider how to be creative and make use of images in the digital age.
* Directed by Yoon-sub Kim (CEO of AIf Art Management)
* Hosted by Nari Kim (CEO of HORI Art Space)
* Sponsored by ONE MEDICS INDUSTRY, NETGEAR Meural