Introducing Ahn Hyun-Ju
The first South Korean artist to join Artistics, Ahn Hyun-Ju has for more than 15 years been working on abstract paintings characterized...
Contemporary artist Ahn Hyun-Ju's works on aluminium form part of our selection of abstract paintings. Their composition is characterised by the contrast between simple and minimalist geometric shapes with deep, intense colours.
Ahn Hyun-Ju is a South Korean artist who has lived and worked in Germany for over twenty years. Born in Seoul in 1969, she studied sculpture in her hometown and then continued her studies in painting and new media in Düsseldorf. From the beginning of the 2000s, she focused on painting and began experimenting with various types of media such as plastic, glass and fabric before being won over by metal, especially aluminium because of its industrial, neutral and stable nature.
These characteristics mean Ahn Hyun-Ju can use very vivid colours that keep all their intensity due to the medium chosen. Aluminium and paint do not assimilate each other, so the metal often remains partially visible in these works, making the colour stand out and with the paint itself therefore becoming a component part of the work.
The three-dimensional aspect engendered by the medium of aluminium undoubtedly survives from Ahn Hyun-Ju's training in sculpture. Because of this, her works on aluminium are not just contemporary paintings but can be considered more like pictorial objects, wall sculptures or paintings "with volume".
The artist favours bright, intense, vibrant colours that she uses automatically without any precise intention or overly considered choice. She suggests that the use of these colours could be a kind of outlet for everything we would not allow ourselves to do or say out of politeness in everyday life. For her, it's a way of rediscovering her freedom.
Pursuing her experimental approach, Ahn Hyun-Ju mixes her acrylics with colour pigments herself. This gives her a broader, more varied palette of pictorial effects, with multiple levels of opacity and transparency with colours that are more intense or more translucent. She also uses different painting techniques; in the Dripping series, for example, she combines the dripping technique with drops of paint dripped onto her work alongside the Colour Field style, with its flat, solid planes.
This combination creates a visual tension between chaos and order, halfway between spontaneity and control. Ahn Hyun-Ju's painting is in fact characterised by contrasts and oppositions; the coldness and neutrality of aluminium as well as neutral, geometric shapes are opposed to the sensuality, intensity and opulence of colours, that in turn create an effect of harmony or rupture.
The biggest influence on contemporary painter Ahn Hyun-Ju is undoubtedly the American Minimalism movement of the 1960s and 1970s. The artist claims she felt a sense of freedom when contemplating the works of Frank Stella or Barnett Newman, recognising minimalist art as the pure and simple aesthetics of the material.
Arriving at a composition that is as simple and as stripped down as possible is an artist's hardest challenge according to Ahn Hyun-Ju. In order to achieve this aesthetic as much as possible, the artist uses geometric shapes, a careful line composition and balanced symmetries. The artist seeks to escape from symbolic language, narrative intention and metaphor. Her life experience, memories and ideas only enter her painting after they have been filtered, formalised and simplified. She summarises her artistic research as follows: “What I try to do is simply to translate my aesthetic ideas into a pictorial language”.
Ahn Hyun-Ju's work has been regularly exhibited in Europe since the early 2000s, especially in Germany and France. The artist has been featured five times in the collective exhibition “Die Grosse” at the Kunstpalast Museum in Düsseldorf and in the collective exhibition “Colore non solo”, presented at the 51st Venice Biennale in 2005 and at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna in 2006.