10th - 13th Oct 2024Saatchi Gallery, London

Nature Unparalleled

Muran, Formosana, 90✕60cm

Ever since the dawn of mankind, man’s obsessive pursuit of new technology and industrialization has led to the exploitation of our planet, and the demise of its creatures. Indeed, the rapid rise of civilizations and modern society has simultaneously led to the unforgiving destruction of nature.

Yet, how can one begin to make sense of man’s turbulent relationship with his natural surroundings? In answering this question, FOCUS features five artists whose works explore the mystery, beauty, and omnipotence of nature and its creatures. As protestors against mankind’s disregard for the destruction of our natural habitat, their works seek to illustrate the idea that ultimately, nature is a force that cannot be harnessed.

The works of Kang Hyunkyung present a nature never seen before — evoking its indisputable power. Throughout her series, “Gazing”, her paintings feature rich, dark green backgrounds that spotlight animals such as foxes, lions, and cheetahs. The ominous stares of the subject at the viewer almost convey a tinge of sadness, which allude to the detrimental damage of human civilization on the habitat of wild creatures. Other paintings within the same series evoke the innocence of nature by featuring the parental love of the animal subjects. Japanese artist Ryuichi Tomiyama achieves a similar effect with her painting, “Lion” (2019). The artwork depicts a lion staring upwards — as if mesmerized by the colorful brushstrokes that the artist applied to the sky above. The painting, amplifying the solitude of the lion seems to emphasize its vulnerability in a world where humans are lurking predators.

Kang HyunKyung, Gazing, 2022, Acrylic, gouache, pigment on cotton, 58✕78cm

Ryuchi Tomiyama

German artist Luzie Schulz also invites the viewer to take a closer look at the wonders of nature by creating artworks that focus on the marvelous complexity of animals. Set against a pitch-black background, her painting “Jelly” features a fluorescent jellyfish, whose splendor is accentuated by its painted scale. By creating brushstrokes of little dots, Schulz draws attention to the intricate structures within nature. Likewise, Taiwanese artist Muran explores the serenity of nature by portraying moments of his daily life — such as having breakfast, in a natural setting. The technique of woodcutting and printmaking furthermore creates a grainy effect, highlighting the details of autumn leaves and flower petals.

Luzie Schulz, Qualle Bunt

As a modern surrealist, Ana Kim’s art defies the boundaries imposed on imagination by breaking the rules of nature. Her paintings displace the sense of time and space by featuring animals in unconventional settings, such as a chimpanzee depicted by the seaside, or a leopard against the backdrop of a glacier. In her painting “Dee(a)r Woman”, set in an oniric landscape, a sleepwalking female is followed by a curious stag. Indeed, Kim imagines through her art a peaceful and harmonious relationship between man and animal — one that perhaps cannot be actualized in modern society.

Ana Kim, Window Leopard, 2020, Acrylic on canvas, 91✕91cm