Art Plural Gallery is pleased to present Assemblage, a solo exhibition of
Korean artist Chun Kwang Young. Featuring 22 of his latest works, the exhibition will run from 29
May to 27 July 2013.
Chun Kwang Young has spent his career seeking the individuality of a style that allows him to express
the dualities indigenous to his work. Beginning the long journey into Abstract Expressionism in the
1970s, a move to America spurred him to embrace a direction that could freely express the divide he
encountered between promises and reality. From there, Chun sought a personal language and a
strong voice that would allow him to incorporate influences from his homeland. A seminal moment
came in 1995, when Chun began to create structural works of art made of the assemblage of
hundreds of polystyrene foam triangles wrapped in Korean mulberry paper. Known as hanji, the paper
is deeply rooted in Korean tradition and was at one time a ubiquitous household material, as well as a
means of wrapping various objects such as medicine and food. In the words of the artist, “I think the
thing I first saw [as a child] was my mother’s face, and then there was mulberry paper. This paper is
not just for writing and drawing, but is like the spirit and soul of Koreans.”
In Chun Kwang Young’s Aggregations, each triangle wrapped in this paper embodies a distinct and
independent semantic component or entity of information. Every boundary represents a confrontation,
a clash of two viewpoints that cannot be resolved: dreams against reality, mass consumption against
poverty, the ‘American Dream’ against Asian traditional values… These antinomies all left their marks
on the artist, who experienced first-hand the twisting reality of the American ironic idyll in the 1970s.
Seemingly minimal at a distance, the works demand a closer scrutiny of the varying landscapes with
elations, depressions and colour gradations. In an obsessive and repetitive manner, Chun organises
his compositions as accumulations. By sewing triangles together on a two-dimensional plane, the
artist develops a map of relations; a labyrinth created by the dichotomy of choice - harmony or conflict.
Although an individual triangle may appear aesthetically attractive, the scattered Korean and Chinese characters bend and twist, eluding any global understanding. A new message emerges out of the voices of authors from the most eclectic literary sources.
The power of Chun’s work is not found merely in the details, but in the entirety of the piece as a whole: the aggregation of these messages. The artist experiments with fate, luck and coincidence by placing ideas next to each other and analysing the result. Thus, the simplicity of these ideas coexisting next to each other allows for a new level of aggregations that create, at each scale, more opportunity for interpretation. His canvas becomes a network saturated with meaning.
However, Chun Kwang Young goes beyond merely depicting these aggregations; he meticulously uses the border of each triangle as a line of interaction to be found on the landscape. These edges become scars created by conflict, while each black sphere hints at missing or hidden information. Chun’s canvas is a collage that contains a micro history of human relationships, as the artist offers to re-interpret political and social events on mulberry paper. These organic landscapes are metaphors of our modern society, devastated by the destruction of our environment, capitalism and endless conflict.
“My work now is not comfortable work. It is still quiet yet very strong. I want the work to be received like boiling oil and fire” - Kwang Young Chun, 2006.
“It is a great honour to present Chun Kwang Young’s newest body of work at Art Plural Gallery. With its uniquely poetic aesthetics, the message of his work is more powerful than ever today.” - Frédéric de Senarclens, founder of Art Plural Gallery.
Chun Kwang Young was born in 1944 in Hongchun, Korea. He received his BFA from Hong-Ik University, Seoul in 1968 and his MFA from Philadelphia College of Art in 1971. Owing to his studies in the West, Chun was deeply influenced by American and European abstract expressionism, the early stages of his career saw the artist working with paintings until his shift to Korean mulberry paper in 1995.
With a career spanning almost 50 years, Chun has shown his works extensively around the world in galleries and museums. He has exhibited at Mori Arts Center Gallery, Tokyo; The National Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul; The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Connecticut; Columbus Museum, Georgia; The National Museum of Contemporary Art, Gwacheon; Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, Bangladesh. The artist has received numerous awards and was named artist of the year by The National Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul in 2001. In 2009, he was awarded the Presidential prize in the 41st Korean Culture and Art Prize by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism in Korea.
His works can also be found in the collections of Victoria & Albert Museum, UK, The Seoul National University Museum of Art, Seoul, Museum Kunstwerk, Germany, Woodrow Wilson International Center, Washington D.C; Malta National Museum, Malta and Busan Metropolitan Art Museum, Busan. The artist currently lives and works in Korea.
About Art Plural Gallery
Art Plural Gallery is a unique space dedicated to Modern, Contemporary Art and Design in the heart of Singapore's cultural district. Founded by Swiss art dealer Frederic de Senarclens, this innovative platform nestled in a four-storey Art Deco heritage building presents solo and group exhibitions, installations, public art projects, conferences, and art publications.
View the catalogue online.
For additional information visit the Art Plural Gallery website.