YIM JA-HYUK at Galerie Frank Taal in Rotterdam

A Piece of Paper, the current exhibition at Galerie Frank Taal is deceptive. The pictures by Korean artist Yim Ja-hyuk are small. They are on A4ish sheets of paper, unframed, mounted directly onto pale squares or rectangles painted on the gallery walls. The ephemeral nature of paper and the lack of framing tend to give an immediacy to the work – a lightness and matter-of-factness which the viewer can influence by a quick puff of breath.

The images are simple, naïve even. Some quickly drawn with pencil, the majority intricately cut out of coloured paper, Matisse style, one with a thousand snow-flakes painstakingly painted, create a private world. There are some people in the pictures, but not many, and then only tiny, faceless figures far away.

But don’t be deceived by these simple, almost child-like images. There is sophistication and hidden depth here, but also a remoteness. These are scenes or objects viewed from afar by a distant observer. There is a wistful solitude, loneliness even, in these pictures that is hard to resist.

The dozens of small works – two solitary red cypress trees and their shadow, a lonely green house with no windows or doors, the silhouettes of two red geese, two blueberries impaled on a fork – are often mounted as pairs or in threes and each has individual charm and presence. But their real strength lies in the whole, in the presentation, as they function together as a seductive installation.

This is the first time we have visited the Galerie Frank Taal and very impressed we were too. Situated in a fairly ordinary side-street off the trendy Nieuwe Binnenweg, it certainly has all the prerequisites and atmosphere of a fashionable, contemporary art gallery. The front space shows the gallery artists while the larger room at the back is for one-man, or similar, shows. Mr Taal is passionate about his artists and gallery and we shall look forward to future visits.   Michael Hasted   29th June 2019