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Minimalist / Non minimalist

2018, Ahn Hyun-Ju



I don't know who and what has influenced my paintings but I remember my first feeling of freedom when I encountered minimal art for the first time. 
Paintings from 60-70er New Yorker artists like Barnet Newman or Frank Stella gave me a breath of fresh air. While you are looking at their work, you feel as if an oxygen storm rushes into your lunge. 
I was at the time still an art student and immediately I decided that this kind of painting is the one I want to follow.

How difficult is it to see a thing as a thing itself and recognize the beauty of the being itself? A thing without being a medium of meanings and metaphors which are based in our convention? An objective object? A materialistic material? A existential existence?
I understand Minimalism of the 70s in art history it that way. The objective way of perceiving of an art work.
A piece of stone that has an aesthetic value but not a stone which serves to encode the whole universe. Yes, this simple view was oxygen I needed.
What we call society, education or lifestyle, can makes things become highly elaborate and some times too heavily symbolic.
Thus, doing or wanting minimalistic art stays for us as another basic need? Perhaps, as an aspiration, it lets us come out of this closed circle to breath fresh air. I believe, this Minimalism movement in NY of the 70s had in its society the natural background for it to arise. 

But nowadays, funnily enough, this is for the very same reason more needed.

Here, I have to add my personal view again. The spirit of minimal art movement of 70s was about the neutralization of the perception. Although some art pieces have the same appearance the concepts are different. 
For example, the works of Lee Ufan is in that sense not minimal art but a result of philosophical process: compromised symbolic language is carried out in a minimalistic body. I wonder that there isn't any other category for it, because their concepts are very revers of each other.

However, although Minimalism is my favorite genre, I definitely don't see myself aiming for Minimalism in my work. When you are influenced by something, it does not mean you do the same. 
During my study period I learned that, plain to say, the pure objectiveness would not be possible as long as we call ourselves human beings. We, living in societies and cultures, are built to be a part of it. Thus a portion of metaphor and association is already there.

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