Opening Reception, February 13, 6 - 8 pm.
In SEO’s paintings, sculptures and installations, the theme of globalization and its impact on the environment, culture and humanity is paramount. Her Korean heritage and experience of living in Germany inform her works, which began as figurative and have grown more abstract, drawing on Asian and western traditions. Her recent paintings present geometrical architectural structures floating in timeless and placeless landscapes. In these vertiginous, fragmented compositions reminiscent of computer games, planes protrude and recede, fantasy and reality collide as forests merge with sea and sky and interior and exterior become indistinguishable, reflecting the excitement and anxiety of technological change in our accelerated reality. In the exhibition Seeing the World Trough Circles Seo is approaching the subject of globalization and its impact on society in two ways: through her landscape paintings but also through a new series of abstract works. The landscape paintings can be seen as a representation of her emotional perception of globalization and the abstract compositions as an intellectual way of approaching the same subject.
SEO was born in Gwangju, Korea in 1977. She studied traditional ink painting at the Cho-Sun University in Gwangju and trained under Prof. Georg Baselitz at the Universität der Künste, Berlin. SEO’s work has been exhibited widely including at the Ludwig Museum in Koblenz, Germany, BAP Galleri, Istanbul, Turkey, Today Art Museum, Beijing, China, and at the Venice Biennale (2017 and 2011) and Marrakech Bienniale (2016). She is represented in collections including Art Gallery of Ontario, Canada, Kunsthalle Mannheim, Germany, Museo de Bellas Artes, Santander, Spain and MoMA, New York. She lives and works in Berlin.
"The themes in my paintings have always been around society, culture, people, technologies, nature and world that surrounds us. Globalization changes everything, including peoples access to the world, their emotional inner life and the me-to-we relationship between the individual and the society. The earlier landscapes portraying rice field, that was based on a socio-cultural level and used both western and eastern techniques, gave room for human and natural motives which later on lead to more different position in space and the every so changing global environment.
In this exhibition, ’Seeing The World Through Circles’ I confront this subject by one hand in surrealistic architectonic worlds which is my emotional projection of globalization, and on the other hand through the conceptual position which is driven by abstraction and the use of color and formal symbolism. Both approaches first seem contrary and different from each other, but the themes are the same: first seen through my heart and driven by gut feeling (landscapes and architectures) - and then through my thoughts and my mind (abstractions of the same ideas through circles).
The one cannot be without the other.
The circles represent my diverse themes, which melt together into new forms and colors and creates new modulation and composition. I have been working on this abstract circle concept for quite some time, parallel to the landscapes, to express my themes more thoroughly through heart and mind. With this series I want to trigger both sensual and intellectual impulses for the viewer and create a rational and emotional access to my work, which is exactly the way I feel and think about the world."