The artist writes words, usually onomatopoeic words, on Korean paper or canvas. The image of peaks which rise toward the sky like a rocket blasting off with a loud “shoooo” is filled with the Korean word that spells out the sound “Shoooo”. The writing of the words “Joo Roo Roook” in Korean follows the fluid sound of falling rain. The willow leaf that falls is made up of the characters for the sounds “Woo Soo Soo Soo” describing the sound of the falling leaves. Another example is the drawing of a small boy urinating made up of the words spelling out the sound “Sheeee” which is the sound Koreans use to mimic this action. In countless repetition of the writing and drawing works by use of onomatopoeic words, these works are his mutterings or his impression about landscape painting, masterpiece painting, or other images.His artworks shown at ONE AND J. Gallery for his solo show titled “echowords” include images of old Korean and Chinese landscape paintings and images of murals found in ancient tombs. The artist recreated the images through the painstaking and time consuming process of applying the individual characters onto the canvas in direct contrast to the methods used by the creators of the source works.
“There are three parts to my work: characters/letters; dots and drawing. My recent works are letter works with strong emphasis on form, but actually, I work a lot making works that have stronger elements of drawing rather than emphasis on form. That is to say, I regard the drawing side as a very important factor of my work. The drawing element of my work helps to develop my ideas and concepts. ‘echowords’ can be interpreted as ‘onomatopoeia’ or ‘mimicry’. Working with letters, I pay great attention to the relationship between the words seen and the image seen and, through the relationship between the two, the words imitate the image and the image imitates the words creating a sense of interaction between the two.”
Yoo Seungho has participated in Mori Museum’s “The Elegance of Silence” group exhibition and most recently in the 5th Asia-Pacific Triennial in Queensland.
Text excerpted from ONE AND J. catalogue essay by Kim Hee Kyung