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The Last of the Three Brother at fortyfivedownstairs

The upcoming exhibition at the Melbourne gallery showcases the contemplative, introspective work of Korean artist Park Sung Soo.

The philosopher David Hume once said that looking into ourselves comes with agonizing pain because we must first pull our eyes out to get a look. Korean Artist Sung Su Park fully understands this ostensibly simple yet problematic philosophical proposition. Sung Soo Park is a painter who essentially throws his whole self into the fissures of the familiar in an attempt to reclaim the true significance of that which is ordinary. His art practice is testament to his capabilities for introspection and contemplation of the world around him.

The exhibition title The Last of the Three Brothers references an ancient yarn. There are three brothers; the first is physically combative, the second is headstrong, though physically weak the last is mentally very wise. The youngest does not lead; he follows his two older brothers and is often chided by them as the precarious, the weak and the limited. However, he who precisely understands his predicaments is ironically very strong, aware of his own imperfections where the others are self-absorbed.

Aren’t we all the youngest of the three brothers? Making our way through life, learning to accept our faults and flaws? Once we reach this understanding we can perceive all that transpires in ecstasy and bliss, because we are no longer bound by false beliefs. Park’s works depict such a realisation, like lines in a private journal his compositions are monuments to the achievement of such a level of understanding.

Park usually begins by first setting down the hanji, which is made according to Korean paper-making traditions. Once he has organized his thoughts, he picks up his brush and gets to work. Park’s brush, it should be noted, is not a tool for ornate embellishment. It is rather the philosopher’s hammer or the magician’s wand, an instrument of change.

His works seem bold, subtle and down-to-earth all at the same time. Despite the unfilled voids, his paintings are also full of volume, at once elemental and holistic. The inky figures appear like ghosts that have sprung by chance from the painter’s intuition. In actuality, Park’s ghosts are crafted with meticulous calculation.

Adapted from original words by Jin-myoung Lee, Curator.

The exhibition runs from January 23 to February 2, 2013.

For further details contact Jade Stroud-Watts: 03 9662 9966, or visit


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