When the charcoal black lines spontaneously gather to form the dense black patterns in Bae Sang Sun’s early work, one can feel the flow of the lines and energy charged within that black space. However, this same black space is also capable of leaving one with the exact opposite impression, as if it was suddenly left over as a remnant of the white, as precisely planned.
Bae started developing her new aesthetic approach towards the presence of this black space within her works since her solo show in Osaka, June 2003, where she positioned it at the very bottom of the canvas. The black was handled as if it were a cloth similar to velvet, a material on which she had previously drawn delicate white lines in gesso, as well as also building up and evaporating subtle layers of white pigment.
Bae says, ‘White is black. White surrounded by black sometimes looks black.’ She does not mean optical illusion, but the existence of the boundary between black and white, and the experience which exists along those margins.
Paradoxically, black and white, which are completely isolated, do meet through the depth of velvet. Careful brush strokes in white are able to fundamentally transcend their form as simple visual patterns.
It brings to mind the work of certain Japanese novelists today attempting to capture this experience, where several individual phases are placed in parallel and are able to meet through their profound resonance.
‘Far beyond the boundary of limited surface of mountain, leaves sprouting from the brunches and the stems of the weeds are overlapping, like one upon another, and the other upon the others, and finally they are budding from the boundary of the mountain and overflowing…’ by Kazushi Hosaka,