Kwang Young Chun: Aggregations

August 24, 2019 to June 07, 2020

South Korean artist Kwang Young CHUN combines hundreds of paper-wrapped parcels to create sculptural compositions, called Aggregations, which look like crystal formations, asteroids, or the surface of the moon. These works are simultaneously Space Age and nostalgic, beautiful and violent, powerful and fragile. They draw on the artist’s training in abstract painting as well as memories of his childhood, when Korean apothecaries sold medicine in similar little bundles. Each parcel is wrapped in old book pages, printed in the traditional manner on Korean mulberry paper (hanji). Chun likens the parcels to cells or units of information, and sees analogies to both chemistry and the human condition in the ways that the parcels interact physically: sometimes meshing, sometimes clashing. He compares the fragmentary passages of text on the wrappers—most taken from classics of Korean and Chinese philosophy—to voices overheard in a crowd.

In 2018, the JSMA acquired one of Chun’s works from the Chelsea gallery of UO alumnus Sundaram Tagore (M. Arch. 1987). It will be shown together with others in this special exhibition organized by the Brooklyn Museum of Art. Of different shapes, colors, sizes, and styles, Chun’s wall-mounted and free-standing pieces are the culmination of his deeply personal and theoretical search for a unique means of expressing complex emotions and embodying his concentric identities as a Korean national, individual, and artist.

The JSMA is grateful to the artist, our dear friend Sundaram Tagore, Joan Cummins, the Brooklyn Museum’s Lisa and Bernard Selz Senior Curator of Asian Art, and especially, to Sunny Shin, President and Director of Art Mora, who coordinated the JSMA installation and communications with Korean colleagues. We are also deeply indebted to Mr. Young Hwan Jeong, whose generous support made the project possible.