“I’ve painted since early 2000, then I made clothes and I, of course, take photographs, but this year I just wanted to paint,” says Hanuk. The Korean-born man-about-town photographer has spent the better part of 2013 working up a suite of 30 abstract canvases, which he unveiled November 25 at Vanessa Traina’s Soho loft emporium The Apartment.
Walking us around the space—elbow-to-elbow with fashion editors and designers—Hanuk explained his process, which involves painting numerous canvases and making various line drawings before settling on one template, then cutting out the form and placing the negative and positive image on two separate canvases of different colors. (The pieces are reportedly selling for $5,000 for one painting, or $8,000 for a pair.)
“You have to spice it up, but the images are exactly the same,” says Hanuk. “To me, they’re like perfect lovers. If you’re from one mold, how perfect can you be? But instead of selling them as diptychs I’m selling them all separately, so they might never end up together. If someone is romantic, they’ll buy one then go crazy searching for the other one. I find that more interesting than someone owning them all.”
After giving up his apartment in December, Hanuk made the work while vagabonding from one friend’s house to the next. “You should see me try to carry 12 canvases from one place to the other,” he laughs. “But there was something I liked about it. Sometimes they get scuffed and I find that interesting.” Tired of couch surfing, Hanuk is now considering a move to the artist enclave of Marfa, Texas. “I was just there. I already know a bar, so I could just go,” says Hanuk, noting he’s also drawn to west Texas light.
“People always say light is critical, but it really is romantic. And I don’t want to complicate life, so my next paintings will be all black and white.” Maybe so, but knowing Hanuk there will definitely be some grey areas.
View Hanuk: New Paintings at The Apartment on 76 Greene Street, third floor