Over the last year, Laureline Claeys has unleashed her ubiquitous artistic prowess on the people of Gwangju. She has been featured in the spotlight as a vocalist and actress, won awards, and gracefully woven herself among the top tiers of the city’s art scene in a diverse collection of projects. Eventually, you figure she would run out of steam, but she has recently unveiled one of her most ambitious endeavors yet.
Mindstream is Claey’s exhibition of mixed media on paper and poetry that has been showcased at BHC’s gallery during the month of September. It is a collection that showcases her work in these mediums over the last two years, and is described in summation on the event’s invitation.
“Her work questions the idea of the Self – its construction, its historicity, its limitations and its different ways of expression, and attempts to remove the formal oppositions between stillness and movement, emptiness and fullness, imagination and reality.”
At the grand opening, performances from Kevin D’Abramo, Andrew Vlasblom, and Kaitlyn Wachter provided a soundtrack for the packed house to view the vivid, surreal, and absolutely striking showcase of Claey’s art hung around the room. Groups of friends feasted on chicken and beer, and there was even a surprise cameo from Gwangju’s Mayor. The event culminated into a brief speech by Claeys, thanking everyone for their attendance, and as well as a reading of her poetry while a traditional Korean flutist soloed and Joshua Wright provided a fluid metamorphosis of dance moves.
Claeys began writing as a teenager in her diary, where it would later evolve into poetry and song lyrics. “I’ve always had questions about life, and my place, and identity. I felt like I was turning in circles.” She began painting and illustration in 2012 while dating an illustrator, and has primarily employed water colors, ink, and pastel. When I ask her about the combination of the two for this exhibition, she explains, “Writing is a more analytic process for me, while painting is more instinctive. But somehow, I like the dialogue between the two.” It’s a very natural and therapeutic process for her, and she pulls no punches as it spills out of her head. “This is to express my vision of the world.”
While life, and everything that exists within it, is certainly a broad topic, Claey’s thematic approach to her life in this world is connected in a very socially existential context. She explains the meaning behind Mindstream, “I’ve always naturally obsessed over themes of streams, flow, and movement. I began to research these concepts online and realized it was Buddhist theory. The river of this moment, is not going to be the same river as the next moment.” Her fascination with Buddhism and Taoism since arriving in Korea has been blended with her Western hermeneutic philosophic and linguistic influences to create work that swims through the paradox of human emotions.
What will be next for the prolific artist who transcends mediums like a figure skater over ice? Time will soon tell, but her work speaks for itself. Follow her on Instagram at #laurelineclaeys and keep your senses ready for her next feat.