FRIDAY 06 SEPTEMBER 2013, 8:00PM TO 10:00PM

Hur_585Hanna Hur: Still Life in D Minor, watercolour and oil on linen, 14 x 11 inches, 2013. Photo: Hanna Hur.

As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect.[1]

Franz Kafka’s seminal novella, The Metamorphosis, depicts the absurd transformation of his protagonist, Gregor Samsa, from human to insect. As Gregor and his family navigate their way through this precarious metamorphosis, themes of isolation and alienation, disconnect between mind and body, and loss of humanity surface. Through this story of unforeseen transformation, Kafka constructs a complex portrait of the physical and psychic interstices between one state and another.

Hanna Hur’s exhibition at YYZ Artists’ Outlet dwells within the same mood present in Kafka’s The Metamorphosis. The exhibition’s title makes reference to a segment in the story detailing Gregor’s newfound method of looking out his window. By using an armchair that he pushes against the window frame, he is able to position his insect-body in a way that affords him a view. Gregor melancholically reflects on his former freedom as he gazes out his window and then, conversely, on his new vantage point: For in reality day by day things that were even a little way off were growing dimmer[2] Kafka’s description of Gregor’s new way of seeing marks a pivotal point within the story Gregor’s recognition of the disparities between his past and present state and his adaptation to his morphed physicality.

Beginning from an altered consciousness and physical reality due to illness, Hur appropriates her new terms of existence debilitation, prolonged solitude, loss of mental clarity, and abundance of time as the tools and defining characteristics of this new body of work. She explores the notion of limitation-as-guide in art making, allowing her studio praxis to be regulated by what has been lost and negated in her body. Behind the imagery of each work, we are directed back to the body that made it: to its physical strides, efforts, and inertia. Through this new working process, Hur encounters a transformation in her approach to visual language, technique, and materiality. As process comes to the forefront, the work is broadened outside of normative expressive capacities; it functions for the artist as an agent to mobilize and measure time. Hur’s newest collection of work considers the body as active source behind the proscenium-like surface of each image[3] and implicates the artist’s working limitations as blueprint for content, form, and meaning.

[1] Kafka, Franz. The Metamorphosis. Trans. Willa and Edwin Muir. Franz Kafka The Complete Stories. New York: Schocken Books Inc., 1971. 89-139. Print.

[2] Kakfa, Franz. The Metamorphosis. Trans. Willa and Edwin Muir. Franz Kafa The Complete Stories. New York: Schocken Books Inc., 1971. 112. Print.

[3] Bryson, Norman. The Invisible Body. Painting. Ed. Terry R. Myers. London: Whitechapel Gallery Ventures Limited, 2011. 39-41. Print.

HANNA HUR is a mutli-disciplinary artist working in drawing, painting, and sculpture. She received a BFA from Concordia University in 2008. Hur has recently exhibited at Daniel Faria Gallery (Toronto,2013), O’Born Contemporary (Toronto, 2013), Galerie B-312 (Montral, 2012), and Xpace (Toronto, 2012). Her work is included in an upcoming group exhibition curated by Micah Lexier at The Power Plant (Toronto, 2013). Hur lives and works in Toronto and is represented by O’Born Contemporary.

Read Veils Can Be Lenses, Cocoons Homes by RACHEL ANNE FARQUHARSON an essay published alongside HANNA HUR’S exhibition.


Hanna Hur: An Armchair at a Dimming Window, 2013. Photo credit: Allan Kosmajac