Looking at the sky through the mind’s eyeappears when

Han Ho, an artist becoming increasingly global, has the basis of his works in personal introspection. Also, shape of memories and modern meditation intersect to approach this basis with a question about humanity. The directivity of his works has its root in light. The light is the only substance and is regarded as the universe or celestial body. It is the messenger that delivers hope to be instinctively possessed by human beings.

When the point where the sky and ground come together is expressed in Han Ho’s works, installation works using large-scale multimedia are mainly applied. The scale of these works brings an extremely intense feeling.


Childhood memories of Han Ho

Children do not have doubt about what they see. Han Ho in his childhood looks at an object shining on top of a stream flowing between an ocean and mountain. Such a magical moment is one of very strong moments affected by psychological thinking of human beings. Within such moments, people on one hand seek for the source of light, in which case the source turns out to be the Moon. Also, on the other hand, it can be the side that reflects the light. In this case, unlike the former, dark night on the ground might swallow the hope for discovery of truth within illusion. Han Ho was attracted to the ambivalent amusement of such contrasting images. The power of this amusement becomes an eternal source of unlimited inspiration for his artistic intuition. What fascinated him more than illusion, twinkling or image is the something that may or may not exist. The gap between expression and extinction and ceaseless twinkling which continues to appear and disappear lead him to the world of deeper thoughts. This is a kind of tightrope walking between existence and non-existence, crossing over anguish and pleasure. His attitude of clearly recognizing this value and not fearing it has pioneered the way to become a true artist.

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The path to the sky

Han Hos works are unfolded in two directions that do not conflict one another. The theme develops into stories about land, soil, history and mankind. However, this is only possible because he continues to pursue a return to the source. This source is not the sunlight, which is the European view of universe, but the second celestial view. It is a being that shines by reflecting light and brightens the dark. It is the ‘Moon’, expressed in Oriental poetry as the center of universe. In Oriental philosophy, poetry and painting, the Moon is an extremely important being. An exemplary artist who expressed the Moon in contemporary art is Nam June Paik. He illustrates the Moon as the first thing that eyeappears when people have a dream while asleep.

In selecting the light, Han Ho regards it as the source of inspiration, not as a blind source. Therefore, the Moon exists in works in order to provide us with the path to the sky. A Chinese proverb says that “When you point at the Moon with a finger, a foolish one would look at your finger.” Han Ho turns into a finger pointing at the Moon, and we can raise our heads to look at the sky through him.

To cite the words of a poet named Arthur Rimbaud, Han Ho is a type of ‘prophet’ to create his works and share what he sees and feels with us. The power of his works lies here. Han Ho is showing us the magical power required to live more properly on this land and the path to the spiritual part of the sky. Han Ho discovered the continuous desire for ethics in human mind. However, he also understands that this message can only be delivered through a deep consideration on beauty.


Human beings towards the universe

The power of Han Ho’s works is that they never forget about people, but these people refer to people of today. People as characterized by post-modernism sometimes try to destroy this land and other times look at the land from the sky. When he thinly cuts traditional Korean paper to install a gigantic structure symbolizing the Moon on the ceiling, he does not persist on the traditional forms. He opens up a new door within the classical form and expands it to recreate a new form.

The sky today is regarded as the universe, but it is a concept closer to us than the universe. The power of Han Ho’s works is that they get over the magical sky to reflect the old and head towards the sky as the magnificent universe. This sky is filled with points of light (stars) expressing unknown forms. Also, these points can only be seen through a strictly established idea, and they symbolize conveivable traces. Han Ho is one of people who can not just look at stars but look over them. In addition, he is one of few artists who ask themselves about what the stars create inside us, like the discovery of a new cause.

The installation work he displayed at Seoul Art Center in 2011 is innovative among his works. The blue circle filled with white points of light symbolizes the galaxy. Furthermore, the galaxy made of kinetic contemporary installation art based on the classical material and new media such as LED bulb symbolizes our vision about the universe. This work provides a direct experience of a person looking at the sky.

We always and continuously search for light: an eternal light.

All of Han Ho’s works contain all intellectual desires of human beings.

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Human beings and land

In the work created in Sofia, Bulgaria during 2011, Han Ho knew how to perfectly combine the double-sidedness of human situation. Eyes of human are facing the sky with an attitude of explorer and poet. Having an attitude of warrior and conqueror, human beings also had the desire to destory this land that they created and were born from.

Thorugh The Curtain of Magic that symbolizes philosophy and art using thin pieces of traditional Korean paper, Han Ho precisely displays such double-sidedness of human beings. The pyramids, a group of cone shapes resembling graves or meaningless piles of dust, were made of newspaper pieces. They symbolize the human nature as a destoryer and creator at the same time. Traditional Korean paper with a rectangular shape shining on top of the purely white world tells us that “we have not lost anything.” Thinking and art, in a sense, have a role of saving the mankind.

As such, art has the power to change the way of thinking. Han Ho attempted to perform a dialectic transformation of this catastrophic ambivalence under the proposition of the end, beginning, completed destruction, and recreation.


The beginning of the world

The works of Han Ho have their power in expressing the mythical history of poetry and art surpassing directly projected history of the mankind. As the consistent title granted to his works is Eternal Light, all works that speak about human beings must be related to the meaning of the beginning.

A Romantic poet of Germany named Friedrich H?lderlin said, “Where a danger exists, salvation also exists”. Han Ho adheres to such intermediate position between ‘creation and destruction’ When he reaches the question of ‘Where does the mankind stand today?’, he seems to say through his works that human beings pass over the history of destruction to start the world by recreation. This is similar to recreation of a world by gathering thin pieces of traditional Korean paper.

The meaning of the ship embedded in the sky made of thousands of bamboo pieces must be understood. This ship has recreated the Noah’s ark using post-modernistic senses. Such delicacy and instability are the media of hope. Branches sway whenever wind blows, and a sacred singing voice can be heard.

In the performance of holding a brush in the mouth under the Moon as a symbol of intellectual awareness, the brush is connected to the Moon by a white string that reminds of pure and wonderful umbilical cord inside a mother’s stomach. This symbolic universe

that uses modern technology with advanced kinetic art is the beginning of human world, and Han Ho draws our attention to this universe through his works.

The eternal light of Han Ho can be seen as the primal light shining in the darkness, which has brought vitality to human heart ever since the creation of the world. We must perceive such aspects from the works of Han Ho and recognize that he is one of important Korean artists of this generation.

Jean-Louis Poitevin / Art Critic

Contemporary Artist