Chun Kwang Young 2014. 03. 12 ~ 2014. 04. 17 Bernard Jacobson Gallery, London

Kwang Young Chun: New Work

Bernard Jacobson Gallery, 12 March – 19 April 2014

New Work will focus on Chun’s most recent and distinctive style, large, wall hung works covered in small, triangular forms brought together by a wave of colour. Each triangle is made up of varied sized pieces of polystyrene wrapped in mulberry paper (hanji) and tied neatly with lengths of string. Each triangle is individually coloured with natural dyes. Collectively the differing sized triangles create surfaces that resemble those found in the natural world, such as the bark of a tree or a geological formation, often cratered and scarred. The use of varying tones of a single colour in each work brings an overall mood to the piece.

The central essence of Kwang Young Chun’s work is his use of Korean mulberry paper. Sourced from old books and magazines, the paper has Chinese and Korean characters still visible under the dye. Through his transformation of a material familiar to every Korean household, he has developed his own medium to represent the spirit of Korea. For Chun, each work has become a window to reflect on the history of human life and on-going conflicts of modern man, nature and the drive of materialism, endless competition, conflicts and destruction. This exhibition, the first in the UK for eight years, gives an insight into the artist's desire to bring balance and order to life and will offer the viewer a piece of Chun's unique portrayal of calm.

Born in Hongcheon County, South Korea in 1944, Kwang Young Chun trained and worked in America from 1965 to 1979. As a student at the Philadelphia College of Art, Kwang Young Chun was influenced by the liberation enjoyed by Abstract Expressionism. This new found liberty was in stark contrast to his experience of traditional training back in Korea which he viewed as over regulating and a form of creative censorship. Chun built a successful career within the Abstract Expressionist movement but was constantly at odds with the feeling that this was a borrowed identity. When in 1995 a childhood memory returned to him of a visit to a doctor’s surgery with ceilings hung with packages of medicine wrapped in mulberry paper, he began to use this traditional Korean material in his work. His sense of being able to communicate an individual voice, true to his South Korean origins, marked a crucial moment in Chun’s career. 

Hasted Kraeutler Gallery 2014. 09. 04 ~ 2014. 11. 01 Hasted Kraeutler Gallery, New York


September 4 - November 1, 2014

Reception for the artist on Thursday, September 4, 6 to 8 p.m.


HASTED KRAEUTLER is pleased to announce an exhibition of new works by KWANG YOUNG CHUN, beginning September 4 and running through November 1, 2014.

Celebrating his 70th birthday this year, Korean artist Kwang Young Chun has gained global recognition as a contemporary master of paper. This self titled exhibition, is organized to celebrate four decades of the artist’s impressive career. Opening in conjunction with the release of his new monograph, Mulberry Mindscapes (Rizzoli, 2014), which presents a new suite of enormous works from his famed Aggregation series, begun in the 1990s.

Since the inception of Chun’s Aggregations, the artist has meticulously constructed these striking, textured compositions by affixing hundreds of hand-cut polystyrene triangles, each one individually wrapped in Korean mulberry paper (hanji), to canvas, plumbing the sculptural potential of ostensibly two-dimensional wall works. In the newest iterations of these hypnotic, visually baffling creations, rippling, sensuous exteriors fuse into waves of color that surge and recede before viewers’ eyes as though touched by the sun and blown by the wind. Their surfaces are networks of intersecting parts—each of which stands alone as an object of visual interest—that seethe and surge together when viewed from afar, coalescing into aerial views of natural phenomena that occasionally touch on the cosmic. They recall, at turns, undulating fields of flowers seen from the sky, gardens of underwater coral, or the scarred surface of the moon, and manage to appear finely, preciously modeled—the result of great care and extreme precision—and roughly hewn, evoking a rocky mountainside or the raw, chiseled façade of a medieval building.

Both ethereal and earthly, Chun’s newest creations are also shaped by a specifically contemporary sensibility, integrating patterns that crackle and repeat with the insistence of computer code or television pixels. At the same time, they harken back to a long history of human creation—recalling historic fossils and even the legendary caves of Lascaux. Chun has described the paper he uses to create each work’s constituent sea of small polystyrene packages, often including pages torn from ancient and contemporary Korean texts, as representing “a type of information, a product of human knowledge and experience.” Joining the artist’s long history of production as consistent as it is surprising, these new works effectively offer a visual and perceptual experience that is fresh and timeless at once, rooted in artisanal tradition while transcending the limitations of its own materiality.

Born in 1944 in Hongchun, Korea, KWANG YOUNG CHUN has exhibited widely in Korea and internationally since 1966. His works have been acquired by, and are included in esteemed public collections, such as the Rockfeller Foundation in New York, The Victoria and Albert Museum in England, Woodrow Wilson International Center in Washington D.C., United Nations headquarters in New York, National Museum of Contemporary Art in Seoul, Philadelphia Society Building, Seoul Museum of Art, National Gallery of Australia at Canberra, Fidelity Investments Boston, Museum KUNSTWERK in Germany, and Busan Metropolitan Art Museum, among others.

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