Kwang Young Chun,Aggregation 17–NV089, 2017. Mixed media with Korean mulberry paper, 723/4 x 633/4 in.
South Korean artist Kwang Young Chun combines hundreds of paper-wrapped parcels to create sculptural compositions, called Aggregations, that look like crystal formations, asteroids, or the surface of the moon. The Aggregations 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 Korea’s celebrated mulberry-pulp paper, called 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.
The installation features six works by Chun—five wall pieces and one that is freestanding—presented adjacent to Korean objects relating to writing, reading, and paper that are part of our Arts of Korea galleries.
(Photo courtesy of Brooklyn Museum and Young Hwan Jeong.)