Nikhat Parveen, New Delhi
Korean Cultural Centre India hosted Synthesis of Difference, an exhibition by Korean and Indian contemporary artists, It was an attempt to bring together the modern art of the two countries by mediating upon differences, and using synthesis as a tool. Artist Haru. K’s work was also got exhibited.
Delicious landscapes, which Artist Haru K. has been painting since 2012, marked the artist’s recognition of a new horizon when he was engrossed with the individual’s mind and body, Asian painting’s modern outlooks, and the coalition of daily life and the arts. All kinds of foods and various fruits and culinary ingredients are surrounded by clouds while forming our picturesque mountains and plains in beautiful landscapes filling Haru’s canvases, as if singing and dancing.
Haru K.’s paintings, which are a visual delight, provide viewers with one-of-a-kind experiences of the five senses by fabricating memories of various scents and flavours. Today, we will introduce you to the acclaimed and renowned Artist Mr. Haru. K with whom we had the pleasure to conduct an interview. Take a look!
Mr. Haru. K, Korean Culture Centre of India recently organised an exhibition ‘Synthesis of Difference’ in which your work was included. Please tell us about your experience
People have experienced great difficulties in recent years. COVID-19 has cut off human communication and meeting. Direct cultural exchanges between countries, people, and people were impossible. It was my first overseas visit since COVID-19. India has always been a country that I want to come to. It is a country where nature and civilisation are mixed together, and it has religious mysteries, so it was a country that I really want to visit. Fortunately, mankind has adapted to COVID-19 and I got a chance to visit. Many people visited and talked while preparing for the exhibition and holding the opening event. It was a great experience. And I thought this was an alternating current and a synthesis of differences.
How was your experience of the Exhibition in India differ from any other exhibitions you have done in the past?
The exhibition in Korea is well-known. And it’s understandable. However, the exhibition differs depending on which country you visit for the first time. I’m worried about how people will react to my painting. The same could be said for Indian exhibitions. Fortunately, many people interested in Korean culture and art came and appreciated my work, for which I was grateful.
Day K. ( Delicious Sansu). 2017. Ink Painting on Korean paper. 200x240cm
How do you see your artwork and its message received and interpreted by people from different cultural backgrounds?
In fact, once a painting has left the hands of the artist, it is up to the viewer to decide what to do with it. I discussed ideal lifestyle elements such as travel, food, and scenery. However, the viewer is compelled to interpret the work through the viewpoint of the culture they have seen or experienced. This is entirely natural. There are different perspectives on each other, and you can create your own story based on those perspectives.
Holding Landscape ( H’s Lunch Box)
What role does contemporary art play in promoting cross-cultural understanding, and how can exhibitions like this contribute to that goal?
As I said earlier, I think it’s a modern art that allows for different ideas between each other. And if time permits, we can know and understand the difference through communication with each other. The exhibition at the Indian Cultural Center was an exhibition that understood the difference.
Could you tell us about one of your favorite pieces from other artists from the exhibition?
All of the artists did fantastic work. Korea appears to have its own feelings, and India appears to have expressed India’s emotions. Because art does not have the correct answer, it appears difficult to select the best. But, if I must, I believe it is the planners and officials of the Indian Cultural Center who have made this exhibition possible.
Most of your Artwork have exquisite and distinctive sides through a mixture of subject matters of relatively diverse sizes, touching the themes of landscapes and food. Please elaborate on how you get this fantastic and out-of-the-box inspiration.
When people ask me about my work, I tell them, “I add images to my daily life and create an ideal world.” My inspiration comes from everyday life. In reality, life is fraught with difficulties. The rich are wealthy, the poor are impoverished, and each has his or her own set of concerns. That doesn’t mean you have to be concerned and live a difficult life every day. You can live a happy life in your own way if you find a little fun and work. I want to find joy in my everyday life. Coffee smoke turns into a cloud, and I transform into a god who rides a cloud while drinking coffee. This is the joy of art that I seek.
While your paintings capture contemporary people’s leisure culture, the consistent depiction of mountains rests on the traditional ink-wash technique. Please introduce us to this technique.
My work actually began with traditional ink painting. Tradition is a culture and a valuable thing that our forefathers have kept for a long time. Mountains provide us with a great deal of inspiration and benefits. Humans are a part of nature, and they live within it. Traditional ink paintings are similar to nature. However, it must evolve gradually over time. In traditional ink paintings, I expressed modern nature in a way that changes little by little.
Ssi bara, 65.1x50cm, Korean polychrome painting on hanji, 2022
How do you think the general art viewers and the people who visit exhibitions would interpret your work as a meaning of an idealized paradise?
In my work, paradise is defined as a state of equilibrium between matter, nature, and spirit. This is the paradise I long for. There is no answer to an ideal paradise, just as there is no answer to an appreciation of a work of art. There are 100 paradises for every 100 people. I’ve heard that India has its own set of gods. Paradise would seem to be the same way. I genuinely think it is essential that you establish your own paradise.
How has the experience of exhibiting your artwork in India influenced your Artistic exposure?
Yes. Following the interview, I believe the exhibition at the Indian Cultural Center was an excellent opportunity to promote my work in India. Because I haven’t experienced a longer time delivery, I’m not sure how it hindered me. However, I am hopeful that it will facilitate the promotion of Korean art in India.
What kind of response do you have received from Indian artists and audiences to your work?
I’m not sure exactly. Many people came to celebrate the exhibition and talked about a variety of topics. It was generally positive, but I think it was difficult to understand exactly how people reacted to my work because it was part of an exhibition with several other artists. If I have the opportunity, I would like to receive additional feedback.
What advice would you give to aspiring artists who are interested in pursuing a career in contemporary art?
I’d like to encourage you to think of and express yourself in ways that only you can. It’s not fun to try to be someone else. You can definitely be a good artist if you think differently and find a way to express that thought.
A Restful Dessert (Patbingsu), 40x40cm, acrylic and gouache on hanji, 2022
Your delicious landscape series is a very out-of-the-box idea so when did you start painting it and did you plan from the very start to make it a series of artwork?
Since I was a child, I have enjoyed drawing pictures. I drew a series of delicious landscapes around 2011. I came to believe that anyone would benefit from taking in the scenery. As a result, I considered how to express traditional scenery in a fun way, and after many attempts, a delectable landscape series emerged.
I came to notice that your artwork of patbingsu mountain depicts a little human scaling the ice walls of the mountain. It’s unique and intriguing which is rare to see in your early work from the delicious landscape series.
Yeah. In the early works, there were no little humans. I wanted to draw people who had a good time in the delicious landscape series as it progressed. People who are happy and delighted between both the food and the scenery have managed to enter since then.
As your paintings are based on an infinite number of dishes, would you like to create something with Indian food and dishes?
When I think of Indian food, the first thing that comes to mind is curry. And coconut water. After I returned from India, I worked with two different foods.
Please let us know what you are up to these days and your plans for your next exhibition.
In April, I’ll be in Taiwan for an individual exhibition. Exhibitions in new spaces, like India, excite me. Last year, I traveled to Taiwan and ate Taiwanese food. I believe there will be a new piece of work.
Haru diligently created paintings that reflected our times. From his previous realist paintings expressing political messages to his innovative formal explorations for shedding the inconsistencies of existing Korean painting, the artist apostrophizes how he pursued epochal change for traditional Korean painting through his unique works on awakened and consistent themes. When we observe Haru’s work, we must ask ourselves various ironic questions, such as why paintings of the past had solely acknowledged stories of a great, heavy, deep, and high space far, far away. Haru has attempted to paint “constructive pictures” in every situation. What is the justification for paintings acquiring the essence categorical of art? These questions impose on all of today’s emerging artists.