Passengers without tickets
Su Mang_(Famous fashion person in China, Founder of fashion culture )
Rather than simply stack icons, the works of Kwon Neung mixes up times and spaces as well as interweave minds. His works are deeply influenced by Sartre's existentialism, and this relationship between existence and nihility is brought out in Kwon's works in the form of a transient, fleeting beauty. Such transience comes from a certain entity that emerges from historical context. It is imaginary but real. It is harmonious with the world but disconnected from it. This curious relationship between existence and nihility permeates each of Kwon's works. His figures do not exist rigidly in a painting or a textbook, but are freely defined by the action of the painter, by the figure itself, and by the imagination of viewers.
If you happen to be someone who knows about art history, congratulations, your brain is about to experience information overload. In the Art Fair painted by Kwon, the Girl with a Pearl Earring wanders through art exhibitions with brochures in hand. Arnolfini and his Wife begin to raise their baby after a romantic early marriage. Plato and Aristotle walk out of The School of Athens, they then enter Kwon’s art exhibition with a cluster of followers. Bacchus, the Roman god of wine, sells champagne with the waitresses in A Bar at the Folies-Bergère. Mona Lisa leaves the poetic vista and stands inconspicuously in the crowd. In addition to the figures in the legendary works, artists of past and present are spread all over the exhibition hall. Kwon Neung not only paints the artists, but also implicitly reflects their real relationships in the world.
When icons from different eras crowd into Kwon’s exhibition, a sense of dislocation and absurdity emerges. Here, what is disrupted are not only the icons, but also the cultural and historical contexts imbued by them. When viewers try to identify a certain icon, he or she is forced to fall into confusion, trying to sever the symbol from its past while placing it under a new context. Yet, the attempt to redefine the icons is not made easy by Kwon. He does not intend to give these icons new definitions. These familiar but strange faces stay inside a queer dimension, where they embrace and repel each other, swarming into viewers’ sights in a dizzying complex. Do they exist? Do they not exist? I cannot answer. The works of Kwon Neung tell us this: in the world of fluidity, we are all ticketless travelers.