Kang Hyung Koo's portraits are not merely dedicated to significant figures of art history, but are also intended to be a sensorial experience based on an enigmatic illusion balanced somewhere between Surrealism and Hyperrealism. Louis Armstrong (Lot 1209) and Andy Warhol (Lot 1208) are in simple perspective angle, an outcome that is powerfully effective with its striking visuals full of emotion and character in aesthetic extension to Hyperrealism's immediacy of impact. Kang's technical virtuosity in assimilating emotional, political, social and cultural themes in singular visual motif of portraiture is further intensified by a balance between pragmatic adjustment of photographic composition and expressionistic painting technique and medium, allowing space for his celebrities from the past to revive their spirits.
Louis Armstrong and Andy Warhol are portrayed in their most recognizable snapshot, a straightforward personification of an individual parallel to features of caricature in exaggerating an easily identifiable visual resemblance. Kang's acute observation in extracting the essence of the two icons are evidently manifested in his simple use of the most representational yet dynamic snapshot that has multifarious effects as a universal language, ultimately, demonstrating the two cultural heroes and their iconic influence in the world. The curved profile, eyes and sweat droplets are exaggerated in repetitive globular shape with wrinkles that outline the inflating anticipation before the trumpet is blown. Kang stages a new challenge by moving away from his usual expressionless face and eye contact, directing all conceptual and artistic dialogue in an overstated moment of emotion of Louis Armstrong playing his music. Warhol is snapped in an upward focus, the eye also enlarged in intimidating watch but directly engaged with the viewer. The physical scale echo emotional variety through bold composition, appearance and medium, perhaps as a figurative manifestation of Warhol's unnerving supremacy and attitude. Intentionally caught in mid-action, the presence and existence of the two icons are further amplified together with Kang's customary tendency of emphasizing the epidermis by magnifying facial features to subtly force upon reality with its utmost close inspection. However, though flawlessly accurate in its depiction, the medium of aluminum bestows a quiet gravity as the level of reflection and transparency is controlled in an ethereal mood as both the icons radiate transcendence and timelessness through the glossy surface of aluminum. Kang utilized the mirrored surface as an allegorical reflection of the illusionary against its utterly realistic depiction in his endeavor to resemble the subconscious and the conscious, dream and reality as he believes that Surrealism and Hyperrealism both deliver the same sensation by providing an illusion of reality and a sensorial misguidance through persuasive illustrations that simulate reality, which can both be the product of an improvisational automatism from the artist's psyche.