'Gatekeeper', 2015, oil on canvas, 220×160 cm
'Communication', 2015, oil on canvas, 80x160 cm
'Google map', 2015, oil on canvas, 40x50 cm
Noah Ryu says he isn’t particularly sociable, but he is ironically nonetheless interested in relationships between human beings. His confusion about the concept of relationships is largely due to his upbringing in South Korea. Growing up, he was taught that North Koreans were ‘blood relations’, but during his compulsory military service the opposite was proclaimed. His cynicism about imperfect relationships can be observed in his paintings.
In Seoul, Ryu was schooled in traditional oriental painting, but in 2010 he switched from water-based paints on paper to oil on canvas because it enables him to change and adjust the image during the process of painting. The texture of oil paint gives him another channel for expression. The stories he painted earlier mostly sprung from old traditional stories, both regional and religious, but especially since moving to Amsterdam the everyday life provides ample material. The men in the paintings symbolize his stance – the figures are familiar and local, he, the painter, is the stranger.