Park Minjoon (b 1971, Seoul) has received attention from both domestic and international art worlds for his meticulous and delicate style reminiscent of western classical painting. Park stages unique scenes that are unprecedented yet not completely unfamiliar by layering mythological images or historical anecdotes on original stories of his imagination. Interested in religion, mythology, alchemy, surrealism and realism, his works straddle the line between reality and fantasy. Having consistently established a distinctive creative world since debuting through a compact method of expression and unique material, Park’s painting captures a singular moment in time and eternity.
For his exhibition, The Stranger, held in 2012, the artist used the subject matter of love, experiences and traditional values utilizing a tarot card motif for the exhibition. Park painted seven works by switching the seven protagonists of the Tarot cards into random symbolic features for his storytelling. His work explores unexpected features, neutralizing old conventions and arousing perception. Park sought to balance the works by endowing each with equal value without bigotry or partiality in the tarot card works by relocating the virtues represented by each card.
In his recent solo exhibition, Rapport Circus, held in 2018, Park presented a world that exists not “in reality but in a reality” indicating a territory of Magical Realism - fantastic space that does not discard constructed reality. As an extension of the exhibition, the artist also published a novel of the same title and his algorithm of transposing magical realism into realism also lies in the imaginary figures of his artwork and novel reproduced and or represented on the canvas.
Transcending time and space, these figures cross between the parallels of novel and artwork to play the leading role in a moment where magic becomes art and art embraces life through magical imagination. At the crossroads of reality and fantasy, they transcribe contemplation and travel back and forth between text and image, reality and fiction. They also maintain a certain ambiguity, but nevertheless are able to demolish humanistic roots including mythology, art history, history and cultural history, as well as pre-established concepts such as non-experiential phenomena. Through this, they merge as independent characters in the unfettered crisscrossing between genres of novel, painting and sculpture, even crossing the borders of imagination and reality. Here, through Park’s words, we come to the realization that reality and fantasy are not mutually exclusive but they are, in fact, both meaningful ingredients in guiding the path of human life.