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Fever Sublimated by Faith
Go Won Seok (Director of Seoul Museum of Art) 2019-2020


The indiscriminate spirituality and the incarnation can probably be attributed to the extraordinary modern history of Korean society, which has been marked by ups and downs. Modernity has come over like a storm, omitting the process of enlightenment and rationalism and making another form of spirituality. In addition, weak individuals who faced the violence of such a modern stride have also placed themselves in the aura of new spirituality and maintained their survival. Such habits are deeply imprinted on genes and still wield enormous influence in a way that is unlikely to fit the times at all.

As Cho Hyun-ik says himself, his works are the result of a continued “sacred sincerity." However, his works begin with an intense fascination and intangible attribution, rather than the way contemporary art is commonly taken- which recognizes and studies spirituality as a particular subject- and are naturally connected to the response of spirituality or shamanic elements that are ubiquitous throughout the landscape of everyday life. Cho Hyun-ik's fever begins with the voyeuristic obsession in the opposite sex and following the secularization forms of divinity found in the landscape of everyday life, it finally leads to the capitalist structure that controls his present with the parallel of upbringing. 


In this process, his work characteristic is that he does not seek the object from far away, but rather finds it here in what he is exercising. This may be due to the artist's taste for everyday aesthetics, but at the same time, it may also be due to the intense desire that he has as a person who lives in everyday life. The characteristic nature of being more energetic about the main interests that dominate the mind has eventually given spiritual steps beyond the general perception of the object. In this way, the structure in which the fever sublimates by faith can be seen as an expansion of the artist's characteristic nature to a social structure calling spirituality. Because this society he belongs to was, as mentioned above, the era and place where spirituality appeared and collided everywhere.


The mechanism of extension can also be found in the formal characteristics of his works. He majored in painting and used it as the beginning of his work, but the results of his work were concluded in a form of installation using a composite media each time. In other words, each attempt to build a structure shows the properties that the image exudes more effectively than the image's implementation.

Cho Hyun-ik is an artist who has already gained a great deal of reputation, with the title of “Discovering Artists Project”. His works brought a thematic layer that transcended the framework of universal understanding in a straightforward form. His most recent works also deal more directly with the landscapes of his daily life than in previous ones. Daily life has been largely divided by the capital that controls the contemporaries. Such compartments are also discolored into surprisingly homogeneous aspects of the various people's daily lives. On the flip side, his interests are not just his own, but also universal, which many people relate to. On the basis of this universality, it is necessary to watch with interest how the artist will try his own special meaning structure in the future.

* An essay written as part of the Artists Workshop (SIMA FARM) of Suwon Museum of Art.

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