KWANG-YOUNG CHUN: AGGREGATIONS
September 11 – December 23 2009
University OF Wyoming Art Museum
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.
Susan Moldenhauser, Director & Chief Curator
Kwang-Young Chun: Aggregations, new work
2009.09.11 ~ 2009.12.23
University of Wyoming Art Museum, University of Wyoming