Shan Hur - Circle on the wall, no format space, 2012 - Photo Credits Silvia Krupinska

Shan Hur

Korea, Republic Of 1980


Shan Hur
Shan Hur
Korea, Republic Of
March 15, 2016
Andreja Velimirović is a passionate content writer with a knack for art and old movies. Majoring in art history, he is an expert on avant-garde modern movements and medieval church fresco decorations. Feel free to contact him via his Linkedin profile:

What we find inspirational differs from man to man. The concept of finding a personal emotional engine to run is essential to everyone’s self-fulfilment. It may be difficult to find what drives you, but when you do it immediately becomes one of the main guidelines of your life. That something literally defines you. In the case of Shan Hur, his inspiration has been found in a most unusual place – in closed shops and construction sites. He finds ruined buildings fascinating and his work reflects that. Hur displays half-finished, apparently damaged and improvised segments of basic construction elements such as walls and pillars.

Shan Hur - Crack on the Wall #03-3 (Two Lids), 2015 - Courtesy of Gazelli Art House
Shan Hur – Crack on the Wall #03-3 (Two Lids), 2015 – Courtesy of Gazelli Art House

The Art of Destruction

It might be best to define Shan Hur as an architectural interventionist. This unique creative role might sound a bit strange but it’s actually the most precise way to describe his work. Hur transforms ordinary components of our interiors and exteriors into something new, usually chaotic. He tears holes in walls, disfigures pillars to a point where they appear to be on the brink of breaking and damaged concrete in a controlled, yet violent way. The beauty of such pieces is the fact that we walk by similar damaged constructive segments on a daily basis. We don’t even look at them twice (usually not even once), but when Hur displays them we pay attention. Why we act this way is the main reason behind Hur’s work. Another aspect of Shan’s portfolio are pieces that he does not destroy but keeps intact in a twisted way that makes them utterly illogical when compared to their original concepts. The best example of such ideas is twisting pillars in a knot, which actually makes for a great visual effect. It is easy to misjudge Hur’s art as something absurd but do not be fooled – Shan holds an M.F.A from Slade and a B.F.A in Sculpture from Seoul National University, so his understanding of art shouldn’t be brought to question.

Twisting pillars makes for a great visual effect

Shan Hur - Some interventions Hur made on pillars - Photo Credits HUH
Shan Hur – Some interventions Hur made on pillars – Photo Credits HUH

A Private Treasure Hunt

Using different techniques to damage architectural pieces is what defines Shan’s unique work. But often he does not stop there – Hur enjoys placing seemingly random objects inside cracks and holes of his pieces! It’s not unusual to see a basketball inside a pillar or coins from different countries stuck inside a hole in a drywall. These additions are sometimes subtle and hard to notice but using this randomness Hur shows us once more that logic is not our friend when it comes to his art. Hiding different treasures while intervening on constructional parts also adds a little playful note to Shan’s style and makes his work a lot more exciting.

Hur’s work has a little playful note in it

Shan Hur - Ball in the pillar , 2011 (left) - The Pagoda, 2015 (right) - Photo Credits
Shan Hur – Ball in the pillar , 2011 (left) – The Pagoda, 2015 (right) – Photo Credits

How to Display Such Work?

The interesting part of Hur’s art becomes apparent when it’s time to display it. It seems confusing if you are not aware of Shan’s concepts – you would look upon an empty gallery with damaged walls, broken pillars, smashed glass and ruined floors. There wouldn’s be a single photo, painting or a sculpture in sight. Such design definitely brings in question our standards of what art is. His exhibitions resemble construction sites more than insides of the galleries – his work directly confronts the confines of a gallery space. Because of such presentations we can describe Hur’s art as camouflaged. Since we are on the topic of displaying his work, Shan Hur held a large number of solo and group exhibitions in England and his home country. He was recognized for his contributions numerous times, most notably when he entered the finals in the Art Caitlin prize competition.

Shan Hur - Crack on the Wall #03-1 (A Man and Two Vases), 2015 (detail) - Courtesy of Gazelli Art House
Shan Hur – Crack on the Wall #03-1 (A Man and Two Vases), 2015 (detail) – Courtesy of Gazelli Art House

Hur’s Decomposition

As mentioned in the paragraph above, Hur makes us question what we perceive as art or artistic. That Duchampian moment in his work definitely turns the conventional notion of what constitutes a work of art on its head. By his fascination of transforming and reconfiguring space, he reveals the beauty in the mundane and ruined – and also in ignored surroundings of our everyday life. Just because we don’t pay attention to some things, that doesn’t mean they aren’t there or that they don’t matter. This is what Shan Hur is indirectly trying to tell us – pay attention because even in places where we believe everything to be trivial, things may not be as apparent as they seem.

The artist is represented by Gazelli Art House in London, England.

Shan Hur lives and works in London (England) and Seoul (Korea).

Featured Image: Shan Hur – Circle on the wall, no format space, 2012 – Photo Credits Silvia Krupinska
All images used for illustrative purposes only.

YearExibition titleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2015Shan Hur Gazelli art house, London, UKsolo
2014Shan Hur Noformat gallery, London, UKsolo
2014A New Column for Manchester Manchester University, Manchester, UKsolo
2013L’ÂGE D’OR Aando fine art, Berlin, Germanysolo
2013Soldier's Tale Asia House, London, UKgroup
2013The Tainted Gazelli art house, London, UKgroup
20124482 V Bargehouse, London, UKgroup
2012Bodhi Gazelli art house, London, UKgroup
2012When I spoke its name… 7 Rue Gustave Nadaud 75016, Paris, Francegroup
2012The Function of The Oblique - Part I | Resistance Noformat gallery, London, UKgroup
2012Per annum: 12 The Contemporary London,London, UK group
2012The Function of The Oblique - Part II | Action Son gallery, London, UK group
2012Oriel Davies Open 2012 Oriel Davies Gallery, Newtown, Wales group
2012Place Not Found Forman’s Smokehouse Gallery, London, UK group
2012Architecture as Human Nature Supermarkt-berlin, Berlin, Germanygroup
2011Inclined Angles Hanmi gallery, London, UKsolo
20114seen The gardens gallery , Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, UK group
20114482 IV Bargehouse, London, UKgroup
2011The Open West Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, UKgroup
2011Acquisition London Art Fair, Business Design Centre, London, UK group
2011Having a dig Arch402, London, UKgroup
2010CUBE Open 2010 CUBE: Centre for the Built Environment, Manchester, UKgroup
2010The grass will grow over the city Hackney Wicked Festival,London, UKgroup
2010Present from the past Korean Cultural Centre London, UKgroup
20104482 III Bargehouse, London, UKgroup
2010Artist in residence HEAL'S, London, UKgroup
2009Make it. Print it. Pack it. Ship it closed shop(Fedex), London, UKgroup
2009CROSS FIELDS Korean Cultural Centre London, UKgroup
2007B.F.A Degree Show Seoul National University, Seoul, Koreagroup