Incense Pointillism – Artist Burns Thousands of Holes into Paper with Incense Sticks to Create Beautiful Landscapes

While traditional forms of pointillism involve adding distinct dots of color in patterns to form an image, Korean artist Jihyun Park does the opposite. He inverts the art of pointillism by puncturing dots into paper instead of adding them.

Using incense sticks, Park burns thousands of tiny holes into rice paper, until recognisable patterns of clouds, mountains and trees emerge. His project, titled ‘Incense Series’, consists of completed drawings mounted on varnished canvases. So the holes in the paper allow the viewer to see shadows while the white canvas reflects light.


“After reading the books Gulliver’s Travels, Utopia, and Erewhon, and seeing Japanese animated movie Castle in the Sky, I became inspired to develop a relationship between the concept of utopia and the materials that I use in my work,” Park revealed in his bio. “My recent work, Incense Series, focuses on this relationship while searching for the promised harmonic balance that utopia brings. Ironically, the word ‘utopia’ in Korean is ‘Yi Sang Hwang’ and ‘Hwang’ means ‘incense’.”


Park explained that the subjects of his work range from the natural world to memories of the past, reflecting the constant physical and emotional changes in our environment. “It is my hope that the ‘moments’ I captures of my subjects are ones when they are at their most ideal – true utopias. While drawing them with the incense, I am ‘holding’ a split moment of harmony in my hands,” he said.


One of his most prominent works, ‘Twenty-third’, is an imaginary location – a street that he was subconsciously led to in a dream. Park regards utopia as an extension of the subconscious, where the act of creating by destroying somehow results in the substance of a magical presence. He also reaches into his childhood memories in Korea, while exploring both traditional and contemporary cultures.




Incense Series is will be on display until March 21 at the Asia Week New York.

via MyModernMet

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