Expressivity as a defense mechanism

Hermina Stanciulescu

We are talking about oil paintings and the impressive collection belonging to Korean painter Kwon Kyung-yup. This collection is based on one single idea or a group of ideas that lead in the same direction, which is a deep felt trauma, memorized as it is by the body itself.

The simplicity of the compositions and the contrasts highlighted in a very subtle way manage to capture your attention by offering you the possibility to penetrate deeply, somewhere beyond colours and techniques. The characters allow you to walk into an atmosphere of beauty and candid sensuality just like in Nabokov's "Lolita" as being endowed with an alluring strength that captures your senses.

The characters are shaped in a loose manner, creating the sensation of a statuary transparence that can devolve into an intensity of an intangible sensitivity. This sharply contrasts with the way the sense of trauma is added. Perfection is revealed even in the presence of bandages that seem to emphasize the immutable nature of itself.

Characters are represented as some sort of unrealistic beings, cured by all forms of human pollution, and keeping only the memory of the suffered trauma. What intensifies the sense of trauma and creates tension is exactly that innocent white, almost sterile, found in the simplicity of the image, on the face, in the redness around the eyes, in the accusatory or expressionless sight. The eyes, open or closed on expressive faces or, conversely, expressionless, allow or vehemently deny access to the inside story.

The feelings you get thanks to this pictorial journey ranges from compassion to understanding, from contempt to helplessness. The patches do not reveal the wounds, but they manage to hide in a protective way the memory and the mark of once suffered trauma that has left scars upon body and spirit.

Although the collection is a whole in itself, I selected some paintings that I was particularly interested in and I can mention here the "Last letter" in which I found a pleasant mix of sadness and understanding, "Adios" - where I was greeted an accusatory glance, but also compassion for the accused one. "Space of Memory" makes me think about Venus of Milo, while "Larva" and "Mint" give me the impression that the bodies are breathing. The two faces must be observed viewed, while their closed eyes resemble a protective shield.