For visitors seeing a Moon-Pil Shim show for the first time, his works initially appear to be boxes of fairly consistent thickness with a white wooden frame of varying height and width. It is the colors that are most startling, along with the handling of white as a color. These colors are visible through transparent or—in more recent works, translucent—Plexiglas. The color fields are arranged in a sleek, uniform manner, and are usually traversed by one or several colored lines (either extremely thin traces, or narrow bands). Sometimes, accidental irregularities in drawing the lines are deliberately retained, forestalling an overly mechanical approach to the design. These lines, whether widely or narrowly spaced, divide and modulate the color fields, adding rhythm to the color–space relationships : the stability of the rectangular colored spaces is thereby endowed with a dynamic, perceptual openness along the horizontal plane.
The beholder is immediately struck by the oscillation between, on the one hand, the
transparency and crispness—indeed linearity—of white frame, color fields, colored lines, and Plexiglas (dematerialization yet immediacy of color) and, on the other hand, the milky presence and atmosphere generated by the white ground (“downy like an early snowfall,” as Tanizaki would have put it) : a vague depth, a mysterious distance draws the beholder’s perception toward a retreating space.
Excerpted from Pierre Manuel, Entretiens d’AL/MA Cahier n°2
(Montpellier : Ed. Méritianes, forthcoming [January 2010])
Exceptionally, the upper floor of the gallery is hosting a show by Frédéric Lahumière of the latest light fixtures from Lahumière Design—not to be missed !