People / Critic

Shan Hur’s Installations and the Spurious Reality

posted 10 April 2019

A studio with a tilted floor, a ceramic artifact accidentally uncovered inside a pillar of a building, secret indoor garden discovered during repair work on a wall, and a roll of blue tape left forgotten on the wall of an art gallery-fictional spaces and situations Shan Hur invites the viewers to explore. Although they do not exist or have never occurred, they are highly probable spaces and situations. Hur’s spaces and concepts, too weighty to lightly dismiss yet also not easy to acknowledge, continue to intrigue and fascinate.

[크기변환]허산 이미지 0.png

Shan Hur, 〈Tape No. 4 (in the foreground)〉, 2018. bronze, plywood, variable size. Shan Hur pictured with his works. Photoⓒ Park Hongsoon

Shan Hur was born in 1980 and later on graduated from the Department of Sculpture at Seoul National University and the Department of Fine Art at the UCL Slade School of Fine Art. Hur has had seven solo shows in Korea, the UK, and Germany, and has also exhibited in numerous group shows both in Korea and abroad. Hur is the winner of the 2013 Royal British Society of Sculptors Brusary Award, the 2011 Open West Curators’ Award, and the 2007 Brighton University Art Faculty Prize. Currently, he is an artist-in-residence at the Youngeun Museum of Contemporary Art.

I was first introduced to Shan Hur’s work nine years ago. One of his installations was shown in a 《4482》 exhibition (4482 is a group of young Korean artists based in London who exhibit together. The name “4482” is the combination of the dialing codes of the UK and Korea. The group first exhibited in 2007 and has been exhibiting in the OXO Tower of Bargehouse since 2008. The show I saw was the 2010 exhibition). It was a white pillar that was broken in the middle. I had the opportunity to see his works again several years later, in his solo exhibition at Hanmi Gallery in London, titled 《Situated Senses》 - 〈Inclined Angles〉, the spatial installation he presented in that exhibition, was even more absurd and provocative. I still remember the feeling of uncanniness I experienced in front of this spatial work, in which the second and third floors of the gallery were partially dismantled and altered as if some construction work was going on. The floors of the empty rooms were made to tilt slightly, with rubble and debris lying about - that was all. If you did not know that this was an exhibition, you would think that there was construction work taking place there. Visitors walked around in this “strange” space with a titled floor with a quizzical look on their faces.

[크기변환]허산 이미지 1.png

Shan Hur, 〈The Forest beyond the Wall〉, 2015. mixed media, variable size. Hur setting up his installation in the Sehwa Museum of Art.