What the Eyes Can’t See

South Korean artist Kim Seola’s first solo exhibition in India captures transformation in nature

Written by AMRUTA LAKHE | Published: August 14, 2013 5:35 am

The delicate brush strokes and subtle tones of the paintings on the walls of Colaba’s Sakshi Gallery resonate the artist’s gentle demeanour. Yet,in truth,Kim Seola’s works that are part of her first solo exhibition in India,titled “Momentary Sonorant”,reflect on her agitated childhood and the calm she brought into her life eventually. For instance,the painting of the butterflies across the canvas is associated with her memory when her house was burnt down.

“As an artist,I hope to use the energies and memories of my own life and direct them towards a suitable purpose,” says Seola,a South Korean,whose exhibition will be on till August 21.

Seola’s current work in watercolour is a reinterpretation of transformation in life. She draws inspirations from changes in nature,such as the blossoming of a flower,ripening of a fruit or transforming of a caterpillar into a butterfly. “My ideas about life — the suggested and the nuanced — come from a philosophical space that embraces me from within,” says the 30-year-old Vadodara-based artist. “Transformation in nature is evident,but its physical presence misses the eye. I hope to capture this recycling of energy,” she says.

Before Seola’s art achieved a structure,when she was a student in South Korea’s Chonnam National University,she was keen to explore the area of experimental art practices. Unsure of the medium to channel her artistic energy into,she worked with oil-on-canvas,installation art,photography and video documentation. Her teachers,having themselves studied at Santiniketan,encouraged her to pursue contemporary art in India. “I imagined I would benefit from the rich environment,” says Seola.

The move to India in 2009 proved to be creatively stimulating. After a year at the Delhi College of Arts,she enrolled at the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda for a Master of Visual Arts degree while also working at The Collective Studio — a contemporary space for young artists — under the tutelage of artists such as Rekha Rodwittiya and Surendran Nair. “I began taking objects — minute details of fabric on a chaise lounge or dried jasmines in a gajra — and painting them with focused precision. And those became the starting point for my recent works,” she says.

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