KWANG-YOUNG CHUN, AGGREGATIONS, NEW WORK 2009. 09. 11 ~ 2009. 12. 23 University of Wyoming Art Museum, Wyoming

Korean artist Kwang-young Chun began his series Aggregations in the 1990s. Today, he is recognized internationally for these sculptural and wall-relief forms. The fundamental elements of his work are individual, triangular, styrofoam forms that Chun wraps in Korean mulberry paper, hand-ties with mulberry paper twisted into string, and assembles into large-scale works. The whole is an aggregate of its many parts.

In Korea, mulberry paper has been used for many utilitarian purposes from floor and window coverings to candy and medicinal wrappers. For Chun, the paper recalls memories of trips to an herbalist as a small child. Medicines wrapped in mulberry paper hung from the ceiling of the shop, the paper protecting the contents from dampness and insects.

Chun’s early artistic career was spent studying western painting, specifically Abstract expressionism. Mulberry paper gives him a way to express his unique, Korean artistic voice. The paper is recycled from books, many being more than one-hundred years old, an important feature to Chun, who recognizes the collective history of the people who have touched or used the paper. Over the years, these people, men and women, young and old have left indelible fingerprints; fingerprints that Chun believes have captured the spirit of these people. The Korean script and Chinese characters on the paper also add texture and further develop the significance of the works.

Kwang-Young Chun: Aggregations, new work includes seven works that represent Chun’s exploration of combining simple forms into complex constructions. Chun uses both color field and pointillism in Aggregation07-D111A and Aggregation07-D1118 (2007). Both are large, square images that vary slightly in value from center to edge but are hundreds of earthy tones of mulberry paper-wrapped forms. Unlike many of Chun’s compositions that suggest aerial views of landscape, these works suggest a close-up view of what might be gravel or rocks.

Aggregation002-MA101A and Aggregation002MA101B (2002) are shaped canvases, truncated triangles. Compositionally, a horizontal, linear pattern is apparent as if the work is a geological cross-section of strata. The surface has a large flat space that plays off a corresponding textured area. Color dominates; one in red, the other in orange- evidence of Chun’s control of staining in deep, rich, natural tones. The color stain is from natural dyes such as tea and tree sap.

The last pair of wall-based works is the most complex visually. Aggregation08-D052 and Aggregation08-N040 (2008) advance the aerial perspective seen in his earlier work. Installation view at the University of Wyoming Art museum the addition of shading and color, however, transform the spatial illusion of the images, creating what appear to be tubes or holes that connect behind the canvas. The component pieces of these works have a larger range of sizes than in other works and, with some turning outward, add a new dimension of tumultuous density to the works. Aggregation08-AU022 is Chun’s largest sculptural work to date and measures almost ten feet high. It premiered at the Aldrich museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, Connecticut, earlier this year. At first, the sculpture gives the overall appearance of being monolithic, yet upon closer inspection, Chun’s intricacies of material, shape, value, and hue become apparent.

Chun Kwang-Young New Works 2009. 08. 15 ~ 2009. 09. 12 STPI Gallery, Singapore

Singapore Tyler Print Institute (STPI) is proud to reveal new paper cast works by eminent Korean artist, Chun Kwang-Young in an endevour never before attempted at STPI that marks a radical step in three-dimensional paper-making. In addition, 17 large scale artworks from Chun’s recent retrospective at the Mori Arts Center, Tokyo Japan will be on show. This exhibition aims to present Chun’s erratically angled assemblages in natural dyes and sans-colour that invokes visual and tactile textures of paper. Chun’s startling illusion-of-depth landscapes are triggered by his systematic rigour and explorations in geometric abstraction.

Chun’s artworks reflect his intense involvement with both Western art and the rich heritage of his homeland. The series Aggregation which begun in the mid-1990s is composed of hundreds of tiny triangles wrapped in Korean Hanji (mulberry paper). Inspired by Chun’s childhood memories, these wrapped triangles are evocative of medicine herbal bundles hung in clusters from the ceiling of his family run pharmacy. Though herbal medicine is a dying art in Korea, Chun is keenly aware of the historical and personal resonance of his chosen medium.

This ambitious project sparked off during Chun’s first residency at STPI in 2005 when he saw the possibilities of STPI.s paper mill. Chun approached Master Papermaker, Richard Hungerford with a simple paper cast sample and requested for a similar effect to be achieved in greater complexity and scale with his sculptural formations. Hungerford contemplated the demands on time and resources this complex proposal presented however went ahead with the challenge knowing the end results would be phenomenal. After four years of experimentation and refinement of the paper casting process, what have emerged are large scale paper cast works characterised by a physically complex terrain in minimal white palette where negative and positive spaces are synchronized in delicate articulation. Hungerford’s tenacious manipulation of paper pulp captures minute details such as narrow crevices, twill of twine, recessed and raised Korean typography.

Hungerford says, “This rare feat challenges the paper material on various levels and pushes us towards the development of printing on shaped paper. Chun’s paper casts gives positive physical evidence that this is possible for future projects.” Emi Eu, Deputy Director of Development and Programming says, “The importance of this project is the purely hand-made process with no machinery involved, where ancient tradition collides with contemporary art - a noteworthy parallel to Chun who composes his constructions out of century-old handmade mulberry paper.” Chun once remarked that his goal is to “tell the story of my culture” and he has stayed true to that aim continually enforcing his quiet but forceful visual vocabulary in various artistic medium and processes.

CHUN KWANG-YOUNG: AGGREGATION 2009. 02. 14 ~ 2009. 03. 15 Mori Arts Center, Japan

Designed by HANNET.COM