Korean artist Kwang-Young Chun began work on his series of Aggregations in the 1990s. Today, he is recognized internationally for these sculptural forms. The basis of his work is individual, triangular, Styrofoam shapes. Individually, these shapes are minuscule. Taken together, however, their visual impact is immense. This concept of the aggregate is what informs Chun’s work.
The Styrofoam shapes are covered in Korean mulberry paper. In Korea, the paper is a mainstay and has many utilitarian uses from floor and window coverings to candy and medicinal wrappers. It also resonates with personal meaning for the artist, who recalls 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 uses pages recycled from old books to cover the geometric forms. These pages are covered in Korean and Chinese characters, adding another layer of cultural and personal meaning. He hand ties the paper over each shape, twisting pages into string to complete the wrapping. In this way Chun is able to integrate traditional materials into a contemporary context. Curated by Susan Moldenhauer. Funded in part by the national Advisory Board of the UW Art Museum and the Wyoming Arts Council through the National Endowment for the Arts and the Wyoming State Legislature.
After starting his artistic career studying western painting, in particular Abstract Expressionism, Chun turned to the mulberry paper as a way to express his unique, Korean artistic voice. The papers, taken from books that are often as old as one hundred years, have been touched by people from all walks of life. Over the years, these people – men and women, young and old – have left indelible fingerprints. Chun captures the spirit of these people and their varied voices in his series of Aggregations. Organized by the University of Wyoming Art Museum.