Pigment, Painting, Physical
Knowledge of the world causes obsessive compulsion. Previously unknown facts ranging from the super-macro to the super-micro impose countless worldviews with seemingly limitless linguistic or visual versions. Surprisingly, these worldviews may be translated into graphic images and disseminated through pop culture in science documentaries, sci-fi films, and animations. But through such simplification, the worldviews of artists can carry particularly fascinating implications. According to physicists like Brian Greene, we might exist among infinite parallel universes, each completely different from the one that we perceive. Theories of quantum mechanics assert that the universe ramifies into countless possibilities. When the world of an artist’s works manifests a worldview unto itself, it becomes one of these possibilities.
Doo-jin Ahn’s worldview is well represented in his landscape paintings. The first thing to note is the unusual perspective that does not distinguish between the near and far, but rather enlarges the small and shrinks the large. Another defining trait is the relatively dark ambiance, dominated by shades of reddish-pink that resemble the methane clouds of Titan, one of Saturn’s moons. At least the atmosphere seems to be breathable, based on the presence of trees, grasses, and even the occasional person. Third, Ahn’s landscapes are populated by giant rocks, which almost seem to be the dominant species. Indeed, the hierarchy of this world might be “mineral-vegetable-animal,” rather than “animal-vegetable-mineral.” Perhaps it is a world where rocks think and plants dominate the ecosystem, while animals make up the substructure.
The universe that created this world is rainbow-colored. Indeed, this rainbow indwells everything in the universe, large or small. Or perhaps this world is evolving into a paradise where the cosmic energy of this rainbow colors all creation. The artist must also be moving on his own path. All of the revelations of this world are emitted as noise, as in KuKuKuKung. Beneath the surface of this world is a flowing river or vast sea of sharp lines, which sometimes rise above ground, as in Kung! Kung!
Also in this world, thought has the capacity to reverse time. This world can be surveyed in the nine major works of this exhibition, each entitled Moving Stone, in which a massive rock in a forest moves backwards through time, retracing its path through the past until it disappears over the horizon like an airplane taking flight. Everything consists of conceptual arrangements that completely diverge from our known world.
Similarly, Doo-jin Ahn’s art is unlike anything else in the world of contemporary art. Looking at these landscapes can feel like stepping into the realm of insanity brought on by obsessive compulsive disorder. Indeed, Ahn’s painting process does entail extreme meticulousness and infinite repetition. As such, what is visualized in these paintings might actually be the landscape of his interior mind.
It’s movement. It’s constant movement. From the perspective of particle physics, nothing is still, and electrons move at the speed of light in atomic units. I can’t believe it, but right this second, while I’m sitting at my desk, I’m moving at the speed of light, and I’ve been writing this for hours at the speed of light, so this writing can already cover the entire distance of the solar system. In any case, like the ever-moving particles, the paints of a finished painting are also constantly moving to preserve themselves at each individual event-layer. The fact that paints are constantly moving at the speed of light is even more striking than a double negation!
from artist’s notes