What Infinity Looks Like: The Art of Chul Hyun Ahn

By Kyuhee Baik

The Korean artist uses simple materials like lights and one-way mirrors to create dizzying installations.

Framed within finite dimensions that glow in endless luminescence, the works of Chul Hyun Ahn confound our understanding of space. The renowned Korean artist explains how he sits apart from other light artists as his objective primarily pertains to the creation of space, or rather, the illusion of space. As light just happens to be his method of augmenting his works, the chief element Ahn uses to manipulate perspective is the one-way mirror.

Using basic industrial materials, Ahn changes our way of seeing things by applying what he calls “the barbershop-mirror effect.” This technique strategically arranges multiple mirrors to face and reflect each other, resulting in a visual expansion of emptiness— heightened by everyday fluorescent lighting.

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Since securing representation with Baltimore, Maryland’s C. Grimaldis Gallery in 2002 and most recently with London’s Hada Contemporary, Ahn has proliferated his mirror technique in numerous ways, exhibiting nationally and internationally as a result. Beyond his ongoing Forked series that features infinite, geometric worlds, he’ll sometimes include living materials (as seen in Mu Rung Do Won (Infinite Garden) (2008)), or etches patterns onto mirrors as seen in his continuing Mirror Drawing series.

Though his works may be more minimalistic in terms of hardware, the striking impact that each one of his pieces conveys is stunning. Learn more about how he expands space through illusion in the video above, and check out a selection of our favorite works below.

[optional image description]Forked Series #23, 2012(Hada Contemporary)

[optional image description]Mirror Drawing #4, 2012 (Hada Contemporary)

[optional image description]Vertical lines #3, 2011 (Hada Contemporary)

This post also appears on The Creators Project, an Atlantic partner site. 

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/video/archive/2012/09/what-infinity-looks-like-the-art-of-chul-hyun-ahn/262896/