Korean artist Suejin Chung has always been interested in the parallel between the human mind and painting. Thus, her works, often convoluted in their compositions, can be seen as metaphors of the complexity of one’s consciousness. Her rendering of bizarre environments filled with an assembly of human heads, Korean soft drinks, organs, and other seemingly miscellaneous objects, have received growing recognition from audiences within Korea and abroad. Born in 1969, the artist has been shown at the Peres Project in Berlin, Espace Culturel Louis Vuitton in Paris, as well as featured in a solo exhibition at the Arario Gallery in New York, representing the new face of Korean contemporary art on the international front. Her bi-cultural education background marked by a B.F.A. degree from Hongik University in Seoul and M.F.A degree from School of the Art Institute of Chicago, has in a way contributed to the otherworldly dimension of her works, independently marking its own territory within the local art world.

Such a dimension is easily found in Garden from 2008, a work that fully exemplifies the breadth and range of the artist’s imaginative creative input. To look on the surface, it is difficult to pin down a direct flow within the composition, yet there also seems to be a systematic concern for the placement of objects. On top of a mustard yellow background, woman heads donning various hats are lined up on the central right side, while flower bulbs are aligned on the bottom row against a dark green backdrop. A trace of architectural elements can also be found with wooden beams, tables, and blocks spread out across the surface. Aside from these, paper planes, organs, ice cubes, lines and colours are scattered in between. The paradox between chaos and order is further expressed through the different perspectives coexisting on a single canvas plane, disorienting any chance of a clear reading. This can certainly refer back to the human consciousness as stated in the beginning, about which the artist explained, “you do not need to ask what [a] painting means anymore.”1

1 “Arario Gallery New York Presents Suejin Chung”, Arario Gallery, 2009 

Contemporary Asian Art

6 October 2013 | HONG KONG