Shin Sung Hy (1948-2009) majored in painting at Hongik university before leaving for Paris in 1980. Shin’s steadfast inquiry into the nature of painting is evident in his enduring experimentations with painting’s two-dimensionality and materiality. He grappled with issues such as the flatness of the canvas, the physicality of pigments, and the limitation of the canvas frame, culminated in the invention of his nouage method of weaving and knotting painted strips of canvas.
His earlier works of the mid 1970s and early 1980s used jute as the surface material of the canvas and depicted the back of the canvas in a hyper-realistic manner. These depictions of the jute itself augmented the viewer’s perception of the weave in the painting’s actual support and display the artist’s unique interpretation of the format that is painting. Eventually, his explorations resulting in the technique for which he is most known called nouage. In these works, the artist coarsely painting both sides of the canvas and would rip the material into thin strips thus denying and dismantling the painted surface. By weaving and knotting the pieces together, Shin reconfigured the materials into new paintings consisting of a monochromatic expanse of white with knotted colors. As a result of this technique, the weaved canvas of knots and holes become a three-dimensional relief destroying the flat surface raising the canvas itself from the background of painting to a work of art itself. In this relief, textured lines, planes and solids coexist within this pictorial sculpture or sculptural painting thus disturbing the identity of singular genres – a significant achievement of pictorial revolution.
Shin also experimented with stitched canvas works where he first painted color dots and patches on a canvas, and then cut it into pieces of a five-centimeter width each, finally stitching them together with a sewing machine. Seams are exposed and margins are coarsely cut so that effects of lights and shades would play on them in works that also attain a relief like three-dimensionality to them.
Shin Sung Hy was born in Ansan, Korea in 1948 and graduated from the Department of Painting at Hongik University in 1971. Shin moved to France in 1980 and continued his artistic career in Europe. works are included in the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea, Seoul Museum of Art, Busan Museum of Art, National Foundation for Contemporary Art France, and Daegu Art Museum.