Shaped within finite dimensions, the works of Chul Hyun Ahn employ a combination of lights and mirrors in order to manipulate perspective. The repetitions of light patterns, resulting in boundless reflections, convey the impression of looking into a seemingly limitless space.
By providing an illusionistic environment, Ahn’s sculptures encourage the viewer to consider concepts that defy human understanding. “ By looking at the emptiness, I hope people can find the place or something they had been searching for”.
Despite the use of basic industrial materials such as concrete, cast, plywood, mirrors neon and led lights Ahn has the ability to introduce a contemplative dimension to his works. Interacting with Ahn’s installations implies questioning the perception of the object and its construction: by looking deeply into his artificial environment, the obvious physical boundaries of the sculpture become doubtful, the illusion of the endless void and infinite depth generates a dazing paradox.
Ahn’s knowledge in art and technology embraces the Zen practice of meditation: in the Zen Buddhist tradition, the enlightenment is achieved through meditation, which can be increased by reducing optical stimuli. The dizzying visual impact provoked by Ahn’s balanced use of lighting and mirrors is aimed at tracing a pathway to a spiritual experience.
It’s precisely the focus on the concepts of infinity and void and their connection with the Buddhist doctrine that distinguishes Ahn’s work from the multitude of ways that light has been used as a medium in the past. From the first experiments of the Bauhaus movement in the 1920s to the Light and Space Movement in the 1960s and the installations of pioneer Minimalist artist Dan Flavin. Altought Ahn’s geometrical mirrored boxes seem to suggest a correspondence with the Minimalist ideology, his approach diverges from the praxis of the earlier contexts.
Trained as a painter at Chugye University for Arts in Seoul, Ahn started by painting geometric images of tubular structures. His interest in exploring perspective led him to transmute his illusionistic drawings and paintings into volume, using three-dimensional objects. The synthesis of mirrors and colored lights to his current formulation was achieved while the artist was completing his MFA at Maryland lnstitute Cottege of Art in Baltimore in 2002.
Ahn’s works has been exhibited extensively, notably at Palazzo Bembo during the 55th Venice Biennale, at MACRO Rome, at the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Seoul, and the Delaware Art Museum.
It is represented in numerous public and private collections including the Margulies Collection at the Warehouse, the Hearst Foundation, Movado Group, the Jordan D. Schnitzer Family Foundation, and the Borusan Foundation Collection.