Yanghwa is a South Korean artist who currently lives and works in between South Korea and London. Originally from Jeju Island, nearby Seoul, she finished her doctorate in Fine Art at the University of East London in 2018 and her Masters from Central Saint Martins in 2013. She has been part of Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2018, with her works displayed at South London Gallery and John Moores Gallery Liverpool. In 2014 she was the recipient of the Jealous Art Prize.
Her paintings are part of the collections of Victoria & Albert Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Seoul and St Barnaba’s House in London.
In her series, Safezone Nowhere, Yanghwa paints her own version of places and memories, symbolically representing personal emotions rather than actual places. These paintings function as a psychological guide to the artist. Safezone Nowhere resembles places where she feels ‘safe’ as she was feeling in Jeju Island where her series first began. The swimming pools depicted are non existing places which could very well exist somewhere in the world. There is an emphatic feeling of familiarity with the panorama, they immediately draft from our memories, desires, dreams.
After moving to London, the artist’s viewpoint shifted to a quiet garden with a swimming pool where she would spend her time alone from the busy London city. At this time, the artist experienced feelings of loneliness where these imagined places offered her ‘safe zone’ spaces. She became particularly interested in exploring utopia where she used realistic narrative and naturalistic technique and combined it with surreal elements of dreams in an attempt to find her ‘safe zone’ place.
Safezone Nowhere series incorporates the artist’s own characteristics as well as it speaks to both an urbanized vision and a naturalistic one. The texture of water expressed in the simple composition of swimming pool; the indoor plants that seem simultaneously fake and natural; the overlapping mountains in the distance, and the natural colours working to convey the familiarity of the artificial as well. It gives a relaxing and tranquil feeling to the viewer. More so, Yanghwa explores different perspectives to create another layer of complexity to her works where the juxtaposition of colours and layers within each painting brings a nostalgic aura. She paints different views of swimming pools, nature and mountains where each painting forecasts a rest-stop from the complexities of contemporary art.
More information about Yanghwa HERE