Kwang Young Chun: Mulberry Mindscapes

Kwang Young Chun, John C. Welchman, and Carter Ratcliff. Skira/Rizzoli, $50 (180p) ISBN 978-0-8478-4254-4
This weighty monograph spans South Korea–born artist Chun’s impressive 40-year career. Educated both in South Korea and at the Philadelphia College of Art, Chun quickly became ensconced in the American art scene of the late ’60s and was especially enamored of abstract expressionism’s freedom and ideology. He returned to South Korea in 1977, but his most famous work didn’t begin to emerge until the 1990s. Remembering the doctor of his youth who dispensed packets of medicine wrapped in mulberry paper, Chun embarked on a series of works using hundreds of pieces of this mulberry paper wrapped around Styrofoam and tied with string. Varying the sizes and dimensions of the packets and coloring them with dyes, these ”Aggregations” either functioned as 3-D paintings on walls or floors, or were fashioned into massive spheres and sculptures. Up close, the meticulous handiwork of these pieces is remarkable, but the paper contains words whose meanings are obscured; the objects’ jagged surfaces and deep craters evoke human scars and conflict. This handsome volume is wrapped in an asymmetrical jacket made from mulberry paper. Chun’s life is chronicled and his work celebrated in essays by UCSD art professor Welchman and art critic Ratcliff. The artist himself contributes an engaging essay about his rise as an artist. 200 full-color illus. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/31/2014
Release date: 05/13/2014
Genre: Nonfiction
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