Illuminations: Martijn Hesseling and Sangsik Hong

April 29 - June 7, 2020
  • BLANK SPACE is pleased to present a two person exhibition featuring the work of Martijn Hesseling and Sangsik Hong. While formally quite different, both artists utilize found material and transparency to create works that capture light in striking and dramatic ways. From Hesseling's newspaper collages which appear to glow from within, to Hong's impossibly delicate and soft plastic straw sculptures, each piece included in the exhibition is a masterful example of the beauty to be found non-traditional material and the ways in which artists push the boundaries of possibility of their mediums and practice. The viewing room will open on May 14th and run until June 7th.

  • Martijn Hesseling, Kiosk II, 2019

    Martijn Hesseling

    Kiosk II, 2019 Japanese newspaper with lacquer on plexiglass
    51 1/8 x 66 1/8 in
  • Martijn Hesseling builds his incredibly detailed, photorealistic works using only newspaper and laquer. Each work consists of nine or ten... Martijn Hesseling builds his incredibly detailed, photorealistic works using only newspaper and laquer. Each work consists of nine or ten...

    Martijn Hesseling builds his incredibly detailed, photorealistic works using only newspaper and laquer. Each work consists of nine or ten layers of paper, each laquered rendering it transparent, and thousands upon thousands of individual pieces. By stacking the clippings and using advertisements, images, and offsetting the text, he is able to control the density of the ink and paper to create a full spectrum from deep shadows, gradient mid-tones, and bright highlights. One of the most beautiful aspects of his work is the way it handles light. Because the paper is transparent, the highlights glow from behind the work (a feature that is readily incorporated in his Kiosk works to give depth and realistic lighting effects to the pieces).

     

    Image left: The beginning stages of Kiosk II building the base of the work before adding details later.

  • Martijn Hesseling, Candy Fair, 2019

    Martijn Hesseling

    Candy Fair, 2019 Newspaper with lacquer on plexiglass
    51 1/8 x 66 1/8 in
  • 'I’m always looking for source material in relation to the newspaper. So for me the importance of the newspaper comes...
    "I’m always looking for source material in relation to the newspaper. So for me the importance of the newspaper comes first and the image second.  Like the ‘Kiosk’ collages, for me the kiosk is like the newspaper, something that changes daily. And it arranges its products the same way a newspaper does with its news articles."
    -Martijn Hesseling
  • Martijn Hesseling, Kirsten, 2019

    Martijn Hesseling

    Kirsten, 2019 Newspaper and lacquer on plexiglass
    47 1/4 x 62 1/4 in
  • To achieve the maximum level of detail, Hesseling completes the darker and most complex sections of each work in front...

    To achieve the maximum level of detail, Hesseling completes the darker and most complex sections of each work in front of a light wall which boosts the transparancy of the medium. This allows him to delicately offset the layered text and photographs to create gradients using only the printed material giving the works an almost pencil or charcoal drawing quality.

  • Hesseling chose to work with newspaper after growing frustrated with the formality of paint and looking for a medium that reflected time. In his work, maintaining legibility of the text is key to both rendering the finer details of each piece and the effect of the artwork when viewed from varying distances. As the viewer approaches the work, the larger composition dissolves in a way that paintings and drawings don't as the viewers eye begins to scan the work both reading each piece that has been used to build the image and trying to comprehend how the work was made.

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    A behind the scenes view of Martijn Hesseling's Amsterdam studio showing recently showing both recently finished and in progress works. Hesseling organizes his flat-files according to a number of categories including language, color, image type, and type setting.

  • Sangsik Hong, Blow- R

    Sangsik Hong

    Blow- R Plastic straws, LED
    21 5/8 x 21 5/8 x 5 7/8 in
    Framed: 25 1/4 x 25 1/4 x 9 1/2 in
    Edition 1/5
  • Sangsik Hong forms shapes by raising the surface of stacked plastic straws at different levels. The hollowness of each straw distributes light reflected from the painted back panel into segmented spaces, creating shadows and movement that manipulates the way the viewer perceives three-dimensionality. As the viewer walks around the relief sculpture, one can notice that the perceived lines are solely created from the light and shadows accentuated by the edges of the straws. 

  • Sangsik Hong, Between- P

    Sangsik Hong

    Between- P Plastic straws
    39 3/8 x 13 3/4 x 4 3/4 in
    Edition of 10
  • 'Although every one desires power, only a few of people can have it. Power is the symbol of strength and...

    "Although every one desires power, only a few of people can have it. Power is the symbol of strength and the object for one’s wish since it accompanies many interests. Power is strong, scarce and heading toward eternity. However, the straw, contrary to the properties of power, is a weak structure, easily available to anyone for it is produced on a large scale and a disposable material."

    -Sangsik Hong

  • Hong works with an assistant on a monumental piece for an exhibition; an entire wall filled with individual red straws....

    Hong works with an assistant on a monumental piece for an exhibition; an entire wall filled with individual red straws. In this work, the straws are left open on both sides allowing the light from the window to pass through, offering a window that aligns with the viewers eye.

  • Hong creates images that can be defined as symbols of desire; lips, chairs, high heels, nude women, and flowers. These subjects represent a form of power to the artist and contrast to the with the choice of medium. Plastic straws both ordinary and cheap, and formally uninteresting and sharp. Hong subverts these qualities with his technique which creates works that exude softness as light relfects and refracts through the hard edges of the straws pulling focus on the surface of the work and imbuing them with a dreamlike haziness.