KIA Opens Chul Hyun Ahn Exhibition of Light Sculptures

Posted: June 24, 2016


Darkened gallery glows with light, color, and mirrors

KALAMAZOO, MI--The Kalamazoo Institute of Arts will open Reaching into Infinity: Chul Hyun Ahn, on July 2. The exhibition of light sculptures will be displayed in the darkened Joy Light Gallery of Asian Art.

The Korean-born artist Chul Hyun Ahn uses light and color to create illusions that explore ideas of spirituality and infinite space. Combining one-way mirrors and LED lights, his light boxes glow with geometric forms that recede like portals into distant space.

"Chul Hyun Ahn's work is mesmerizing, mysterious, and curiously calming," says Vicki Wright, KIA Director of Exhibitions and Collections. "Visitors will not simply see the work of a talented young sculptor -- they will experience art that beckons them to contemplate time and space."

Often described as a light artist, Ahn has pointed out another important element 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."

Born in 1971 in Busan, South Korea, Ahn received a bachelor's degree from the Chugye University for the Arts in Seoul. He moved to the U.S. in 1997, and studied at Eastern Michigan University before receiving a master's degree from the Maryland Institute College of Art. Ahn has exhibited internationally and his work can be found in numerous private and public collections. He lives and works in Baltimore, where he is represented by C. Grimaldis Gallery.

Ahn's 2008 solo exhibition, Phenomena: Visual Echo, at the C. Grimaldis Gallery, garnered positive commentary from art critic Cara Ober.

"What does infinity look like? Chul Hyun Ahn's show of 13 mirrored light boxes answered this question over and over, in subtly different ways. The constructions of plywood and fluorescent light with exposed electrical cords unavoidably recall Donald Judd and Dan Flavin, but Ahn uses these industrial materials to a different end. Rather than clarifying visual phenomena without artifice, Ahn seeks to mystify."

Karla Niehus, KIA Associate Curator of Exhibitions, talks about experiencing the exhibition with minimal lighting.

"The lack of gallery lighting will really draw the viewer into Ahn's work," she says. "For the visitor who wishes to slow down and spend some time, it will be particularly rewarding--and maybe even meditative--to experience Ahn's shapes, colors, and vision of infinite emptiness.

Ahn will be in Kalamazoo Tuesday, June 28, for a free ARTbreak presentation at noon, and will attend a reception Thursday, June 30, along with Barbara Takenaga, whose exhibition Waiting in the Sky II opened June 18. Starting at 5:30, the reception features a talk by Takenaga at 6:30.

Reaching into Infinity: Chul Hyun Ahn runs through November 6, 2016, and is sponsored by Honigman. The exhibition has been organized by the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts in conjunction with the Tarble Arts Center, Eastern Illinois University. We acknowledge the cooperation of C. Grimaldis Gallery, Baltimore, in facilitating loans for the exhibition. This exhibition will travel to Eastern Illinois University. More information is available at