I wouldn’t like to wander through Parasol Unit on a dark night with the lights turned off, perhaps with a torch lighting up the details of Hyon Gong’s immensely detailed paintings. Or worse, with lightning from a storm flashing into the gallery spaces.
In her solo first exhibition in Europe, Gyon’s work responds to recent history in her homeland Korea from the implications of living and growing up in a male-dominated society to the ongoing tensions of wars and potential wars in Korea and her neighbours. The detail in the work is incredible, demanding time to explore it, with a mix of western and eastern images intertwined with furious energy as they blast off the paintings towards you, especially in the larger works on show in the lower gallery, including the immense ‘We Were Ugly’, the 7 panels of which run the complete length of the gallery wall.
Yet, Gyon is optimistic about the future. The aim of these paintings is to purge the past and encourage hope for a future in which there is equality and peace.