“I believe that artists should speak about the most desperate and desirable issues for humanity,” says Korean painter Kwon Kyung-Yup. Though known for her realistic portraits of melancholy subjects, first featured in Hi-Fructose Vol. 24, Kwon describes herself as a happy person whose paintings are about recalling memories. Her works find an emotional balance between her artistic inspirations, citing the beauty in Klimt’s paintings which she pairs with tragedy, as found in the works of Caravaggio.
In conveying pain and beauty, Kwon’s beautiful subjects are often shown wearing bandages, delicate yet healing in their melancholic state. She will debut a new body of work, “Melancholia”, this weekend at Thinkspace gallery in Los Angeles. The series navigates her subject’s emotion through color and facial expression, and both female and male characters are represented. “I wanted to draw a character who reviews one’s life while dreaming of something behind the reality. My characters are immersed in deep contemplation or meditating,” she says.
Pale skinned, some with pastel-colored hair, her characters typically apear discolored, like a fading photograph or memory. Kwon once remarked that their paleness is in reference to their place between life and death, where they are overcoming trauma in spite of themselves. She explains: “In the expression of loneliness and loss, I extracted and expressed only certain traces left by the memory while hiding personal narratives.” Adding, “I describe characters with a realistic grammar; however, I emphasize imaginative elements and fantasy above all.”