By Art Editor Sion Khan
Whenever I go to Insa-dong art district in Seoul, I stop by several galleries. Among them, when Multi-artist Han Su-il exhibited at Gallery Reuben, I visited the gallery as there were a number of works that attracted the attention of many people.
Although they were ‘flat-painting’ works, they drew my attention because they were made with materials different from those used in ordinary art works.
I do not overlook unique works because I believe that the life of art should be original and moving.
In this sense, the works of Artist Han Su-il made on various themes and unique materials such as the Light series, Tears series, Landscape series, and Jesus image series were sufficient to attract my attention.
These were works that borrowed and applied the stained-glass technique to glass, and they were realized with unique materials rather than ordinary oil paintings or acrylics.
Artist Han Su-il, who held his fifth solo exhibition at Gallery Leuven from April 27 to May 3, 2022, uses resins and unique paints colored on glass or transparent acrylic plates to create and shed material through the techniques of drawing and flowing shapes. The works created by fully utilizing their characteristics were mysterious and interesting.
In this fifth solo exhibition, there are many works that explored the changes and recombination of space and color in painting.
The fine harmony of colors and forms that are detected in the changes of light expressed by combining colors of paints in painting, reflected forms, and the power by light reflected through the light are expressed in a multi-layered manner, which is filled with stained glass image techniques and projection mechanisms.
This is the pictorial element that is unique to stained glass, in which the glorious light of heaven gently flows through the walls and glass.
His fifth works, which started with experiences and discoveries in these stained glass works, do not use the minimal image of the luminous body of light like James Turrell, but rather the image of light colored with resin or mixed media. The transparent acrylic engraved with images moves between the transparent bodies of the double or triple overlapping films to reproduce another image.
The focus was on the transformation of pictorial images that overlap and change in the space where the shape and color of such images reproduce.
There is no artificial light emitting body and only the function of light penetrating the layered transparent body.
In order to maximize the penetration of the light, a white light panel was arranged to maximize the reflection.
Since it is the essence of stained-glass art that maximizes the pictorial image by light, it is the essence of artist Han Su-il's original world while maintaining it.
A series of works are made by mixing a synthetic resin called resin and pigment on a glass or transparent acrylic plate to naturally flow, or by using a special resin that allows permanent coloration on a glass or acrylic plate to be applied directly to a transparent plate like the technique of stained glass. They are works that are expressed in a way.
Traditional stained glass is a window glass made by welding with a ribbon of lead after cutting it into a decorative form or material or a pictorial design. Various metal compounds such as copper, iron, and manganese are used to color the glass, and the detailed design is expressed using brown enamel glaze.
After this production technology was created, only the details were modified and developed, but there was little change in principle.
The use of colored glass in windows and ceilings originated in the Islamic region around the 7th century. In Islamic architecture, a lot of glass sculptures were inserted into marble plates to combine mining and decoration.
This traditional method is cumbersome, but it has the disadvantage of being expensive in terms of cost.
So, Han Su-il has devised a way to draw a picture like a painting directly on the surface of glass, and researched and developed materials that are settled without permanently falling off the smooth surface of glass.
This work as a writer is based on the experience he gets from his life journey and comes from the spirit of exploring with passion.
Han Su-il is a unique history owner who steadily burns his passion for learning, such as graduating from Masan Education University and graduating from the Department of Architecture at Kookmin University.
In the meantime, preparing a graduate thesis on church and cathedral design, it became an opportunity to improve the method of making stained glass essential for cathedral architecture and to develop an innovative method of forming stained glass patterns, and it became a commercialization and it became an opportunity for him to realize the aesthetics of light in painting works.
Through 10 years of research and experience, he has developed stained glass that colored glass directly by operating a company that installs religious painting in domestic religious facilities called Yeonggwang Stained Glass.
In addition, it was possible to study materials that did not deviate from the glass surface without fading, and to form a company recognized by the industry by receiving patents.
He invented the pattern-forming method of stained glass and patented it by the Korean Intellectual Property Office in April 1999.
A method for manufacturing a translucent glass tile having a thermoplastic resin coloring coating surface and a glass tile were patented by the Korean Intellectual Property Office in January 2007.
In addition, a method of manufacturing fair glass with various colors and pattern coloring coating layers was invented and a patent was registered from the Korean Intellectual Property Office in September 2007.
He could have continued his work by following or adhering to the traditional method of stained glass, but based on it, he devised and created a new developmental style to embody his own original world in the realm of painting. In this respect, we can see the artist's potential of Han Su-il.
Stained glass has developed mainly in the Middle East and Europe, and it is difficult and expensive to construct in Korea in the early days of the technology.
So, it was patent development that he studied to make construction more easily.
So, he established and operated two stained glass workshops in Yeonggwang and St. John's, and began to work nationwide, and he built about 400 places in churches and cathedrals across the country, and also installed them in several places in general corporations and cafes.
In addition, works containing messages for peace were constructed at the Peace Hall in Japan, and exported with favorable responses from overseas.
Han Su-il is not an artist majoring in art, but graduated from the Department of Architecture and prepared a graduate thesis. He became acquainted with stainless glass and became a successful artist and succeeded in his business. He is a very unusual artist who built his own unique artistic area based on his experience.
So, his work seems to have the age and philosophy of life.
It is like a gift of God, as if it were a Catholic monk who regarded labor as a sacred value, and gave it the value of labor to build stained glass hard.
So as an artist, he gives a great impression with the message that he throws to the public in his work.
There are stars called the Earth in the dark space, and there are countless people living in it.
Currently, about 7.5 billion people live on Earth, and the religious god will want all mankind to return to God after successfully completing the semester at the school called Earth.
But this world is full of good and evil and many relative situations.
So, humans can choose between good and evil.
You can also enjoy joy in the realm of light, or choose pleasure in the realm of darkness.
But all creatures and human beings on earth are all living if they pursue so-called physical light.
Because they can’t maintain life without this physical light.
Likewise, we are the ones who live in pursuit of the good and hopeful life symbolized by light.
In the dark, light is life and hope. Darkness, which is distinguished from light, is death and symbolizes despair.
All humans live in pursuit of light and pursue life and hope symbolized by light.
This beautiful world can be coexisted with all living things and all mankind permanently by choosing hope rather than despair, choosing good rather than evil, and choosing peace rather than fighting.
Christian way of life is also the ultimate light and hope to talk about human salvation.
It is a heaven that we speak of, and heaven means a brightly shining world.
If heaven is real, it will look like a starlight when we look at it from the streets of billions of light years.
The stories and messages transmitted through stained glass show the world of salvation in which humans ultimately go out of the dark and go to the world of light.
Artist Han Su-il is now in a position to meet the age of mature fruit in life.
It may be that the message he wants to convey to the public is 'Toward the Light,' which may be the position of having to fulfill the same mission as the great prophets who led mankind into the realm of light through art.
I hope that Artist Han will humbly follow the path of art like a disciplinant.
In that sense, I hope that he will be active in the field of pure art, not as an artist in Korea, but one in Europe and Asia.
Profile of Multi-artist Han Su-il
1950 Born in Masan
1980 Graduated from the Department of Architecture, Kookmin University
1983 Graduated from the Graduate School of Architecture, Kookmin University
4 solo exhibitions
3 group exhibitions
Works at Japan SAGA PEACE CENTER
Works at Korean martyrs' cathedral
Works at Cho Ji-dong Cathedral and 30 other cathedrals
Works at Saemunan Church and 300 other churches
Works at Prima Hotel Ballroom and 50 other buildings
Head of the workshop of Yeonggwang stained glass
Head of the workshop of St. John's stained glass