10th - 13th Oct 2024Saatchi Gallery, London

Painting the Urban Landscape

Jiyoon Hong, Wonderland

The exploration of the metropolitan lifestyle is a theme prevalent in contemporary artworks. From towering skyscrapers to maze-like streets, the theme of the city corresponds to a plethora of other concepts, such as industrialisation, isolation, and self-identity.

Fabian Sommer, 2020, Alles nur Fassade_101 Marszałkowskal, 30✕45cm

As painters of the urban landscape, the three artists featured by FOCUS explore the fascination, mystery, and disorientation that the city brings. Through their artworks, using state of the art media such as digital painting and photography, the artists grant the viewer access to a unique view of the city as never seen before. On such a provocative tour, we navigate surreal landscapes, in which the regularity of time and space has been put on pause.

Artist and photographer Fabian Sommer creates photographic artworks using the method of long exposure. Indeed, by utilising a long duration shutter speed, Sommer attempts to capture several moments in a single photograph, thus depicting the passage of time. In his works such as «Alles nur Fassade_101 Marszałkowskal (2020)», the viewer is required to take a second look and observe more closely at the image to understand what is being presented before us. The blurring effect breaks the rigidity of the apartment windows that are being photographed, transforming them into a mesmerising pattern. The method of long exposure furthermore illustrates the disorientation of a busy metropolitan life, as it seems to mimic a person’s fast walking pace.

Fabian Sommer, Paris je t'aime_11 Rue Blanche, 2020, 50✕50cm

Both artist Jiyoon Hong and Ivan Shalmin integrate digital painting to create visual experiments of the cityscape. For the former, colour psychology forms the basis of several artworks, in which aesthetically pleasing colours are chosen to stimulate different moods. In the works of Hong, namely the series «Wonderland», monochromatic buildings stand against backgrounds of pure pastel pink, burgundy, or glaring red. The simplicity of these coloured backdrops accentuate the immensity of the buildings themselves, demonstrating the artist’s fascination for the city. Likewise, Shalmin also creates multidimensional spaces by exploring the patterns of urban architecture. Fusing his knowledge in engineering and his inspiration from 20th century French Cubism, Shalmin’s works present a kaleidoscope view of the city. His digital painting «Journey», for example, creates a hallucinating view of metropolitan structures. Indeed, by looking at his artworks, the viewer becomes a wandering traveller in a metropolis that is surreal, transient, and borderless.

Jiyoon Hong, Wonderland

Ivan Shalman, Journey, 2019, 41✕57cm