CHUL-HYUN AHN (b. 1971)
Through the interplay of mirrors and light, Baltimore-based artist Chul-Hyun Ahn makes mind-bending sculptures that conjure illusions of infinite space. The repetitions of light patterns, resulting in boundless reflections, convey the impression of looking into a seemingly limitless space. Drawing from op art and light and space traditions, as well as theories of the subconscious, Ahn explores the immersive, illusory possibilities of reflection. “By looking at the emptiness, I hope people can find the place or something they had been searching for,” said the artist.
Ahn creates his light boxes by combining one-way mirrors and LED lights, and the use of basic industrial materials such as concrete, cast, plywood, and neon. Though Ahn is often described as a light artist, he is quick to underline the significance of space in his work: “At the root, my art is about space,” he says, “without light, the space was not visible, so I brought light to my artworks so people would experience a sense of deeper space in the direction of the fading light.”
Ahn’s knowledge of art and technology embraces the Zen practice of meditation. In the Zen Buddhist tradition, enlightenment is achieved through meditation, which can be increased by reducing optical stimuli. The dizzying visual impact provoked by Ahn’s balanced use of lighting and mirrors is aimed at tracing a pathway to a spiritual experience.