January 16, 2024

Han Sungpil: Canadian Fever

Opening Saturday, February 3, 2024
1:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Artist in attendance
The exhibition continues through to March 2, 2024

TrépanierBaer Gallery is delighted to present the work of Canadian/Korean artist Han Sungpil in his first Canadian solo exhibition. Titled Canadian Fever, the exhibition will feature fifteen (15) recent works including several large format photographs. 

Han Sungpil was born in Korea in 1972. He is a graduate (B.F.A. Photography, with distinction; 1993-1999) from the University of Chung-Ang, An-Seoung, Korea, and holds a master’s degree (2003-2004 with commendation) in Curating Contemporary Design from Kingston University, London. 

As  a photographer, filmmaker and installation artist, his work has been exhibited and collected in notable museums and biennials internationally including: the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Seoul and Gwacheon, Korea;  the Museum of Fine Arts Houston; Château de Chaumont, Loire, France;  the National Museum of Fine Arts, Buenos Aires, Argentina; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Shanghai, China; Photografie Forum, Frankfurt, Germany; the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Japan; and the Yokohama Triennale, Japan to name a few.  His work has been presented in twenty countries worldwide. In addition, he has published several books including: Façade with FOIL in 2011; Phatasmogoria with Museum Hanmi, 2016; and Intervention with Hatje Cantz in 2017.

A nomadic artist, Han Sungpil has travelled the world to discover, rediscover, and present the unknown or the misunderstood. Over time, and through his experience observing the world and its wonders and unexpectedness, Han Sungpil became increasingly aware that the earth’s ecology and its environment were rapidly deteriorating. After immigrating to Canada in 2020, the artist shifted his focus and began a series of works documenting the melting glaciers and forest fires in Canada’s national parks.

The Exhibition: Canadian Fever

The consequences of global warming have been creeping upon the world over the last decade. In western Canada, for example, on July 15, 2014, a wildfire was started by a lightning strike in a tinder-dry, 300-year-old spruce forest on the boundary of Banff National Park, Saskatchewan River Crossing. The wildfire burned roughly 86,000 hectares in the park. On August 30, 2017, after an intense lightning and thunderstorm, a wildfire broke out in Waterton Lakes National Park in southern Alberta. The wildfire burned roughly 20,000 hectares which impacted approximately 38 per cent of the park. A wildfire ignited on September 1, 2022, burning in Jasper National Park’s Chetamon Mountain covering an area of approximately 80,000 hectares.

The aftermath of each wildfire was devastating. Regrowth and recovery of such wildfires are estimated to take up to 40 years. The summer of 2023 was recorded as the hottest season the planet has ever endured. Global warming is now escalating to a boiling with more intense periods of international heat waves. Severe climate change-induced heat waves and droughts have caused some of the worst mega-fires in Canada and the United States, Greece, Spain, Russia, and Australia. New York City was shrouded with orange skies filled with smoke and haze in the summer of 2023.

Han Sungpil visited the site of Waterton Lakes in the early spring of 2021 when the affected area was covered in snow. “It was as if the forest never existed. There was a sense of silence and stillness while nature was healing itself.”

With this poetic suite of photographs the artist captures the unconquerable restorative force of nature while expressing the consequences of environmental devastation. Han Sungpil hopes that as global citizens we can and will deal with the challenges of climate change by awakening each other and creating a combined force.

You are invited to celebrate Han Sungpil’s first Canadian exhibition and experience his outstanding work.

The artist will be in attendance.
Image Credit:
Han Sungpil
North Saskatchewan River, Crossing,
Banff National Park, Alberta, 
2023

Archival pigment print – Edition 1/3
59″ x 90.5 ” – 150 cm x 230 cm – image