Recalcitrant Radiance, a solo exhibition of the Australian artist Daniel Boyd at the gallery’s Busan space on view from December 13, 2019, to February 29, 2020. The exhibition marks the artist’s first solo presentation in Korea. Over the years, Boyd has questioned and challenged the preexisting romanticist notions behind the colonial history of Australia, seeking to restore the perspectives often overlooked in hegemonic historical discourse. The show presents the artist’s new paintings that reflect his artistic practice of reconsidering the world’s order across different temporalities and borders.
Stemming from the words of the French philosopher Édouard Glissant, “The experience of the abyss is inside and outside of the abyss,” the exhibition comprises of new paintings that oscillate between the dualities of light and darkness, knowledge and ignorance, information and non-information. The artist, who continuously explores the ways in which we understand the universe, emphasizes the significance of plurality in the collective consciousness of humanity. Hence, he raises awareness to the fact that history is a subjective narrative as he persistently cross-examines Eurocentric thoughts and perspectives. In particular, the artist engages with his Aboriginal and Vanautan heritage in reinterpreting Australian colonial history, often re-appropriating images of icons that played significant roles in the formation of the nation’s history.
The paintings showcased in Recalcitrant Radiance align within the same context of re-examining the normality of historical perspectives. Boyd questions the canonized representation of “beauty” and the authority behind such designation of value through his representations of the Pacific Belle. His line drawings that trace the anthropological documentations of sand drawings from Pentecost Island, Vanuatu, visit his personal ancestry as he once again draws on a trans-temporal trajectory of information from an anonymous man on the homeland of his great-grandfather to the anthropologist, and then back to the artist himself. He most vividly taps into his interest in exploring the authorship of a particular landscape and the empirical lens that projects a dominant narrative in the portrait of King Sandy, a prominent Aboriginal figure during the early colonial days of Australia.
Boyd's paintings serve as the threshold between the interior and exterior of the (Platonian) cave, providing a platform for mediating the complexity of relationships that come together to form an understanding of any one object. This is formally facilitated through the clear white dots of glue applied throughout much of the painting’s surface. Each “dot” acts as a “lens” through which the artist views the world; by installing numerous lenses, the artist reads the world as multiple histories as opposed to a singular narrative. Amalgamating the dualities between black and white, darkness and light, the viewer takes on an active role in connecting the domains between the positive and the negative, and realigning the viewpoints between the past and present.
As such, Boyd’s works cultivate a multiplicity of perspectives and viewpoints as they defer the immediate delivery of a singular meaning. It is up to us, the viewers, to fill and enlighten the dark void of the unknown with each of our knowledge and different backgrounds, completing the picture as we enter and exit through disparate vantage points.