강서경 / Suki Sukyeong Kang is an interdisciplinary artist whose works, at a glance show a merging of many objects or source material from Korean history and tradition with novel, artistic interpretation. Deeper, it’s her interpretation of the modern, developing world using material from the world that’s existed before.
When I first encountered the art works of Korean artist Suki Kang’s at Pace Gallery last week, I was admittedly confused. I liked them: her hand of materials and choices of color were unique, and being Korean, I also wanted to be supportive of a Korean artist who had her art being exhibited in one of the most powerful, international galleries (still uncommon in 2021….) but I felt I needed to understand the meaning behind them if I were to really be able to appreciate her pieces; “there must be meaning behind her process…. I can’t just be looking at threads and circles and holed metallic cylinders…”
Intrigued, I picked up this book, Black Mat Oriole, which was initially printed for her first major art show in the US in 2018, with the Institute of Contemporary Art, to learn of her process. It’s opened me up to the world of her head, and I am looking back to the art I saw with renewed interest, and a deep desire to spend more time with her art once I get the chance.
From this book, I’ve gathered she is interested in these motifs and questionings: our bodies’ places in the world, hand (by this, I mean craft, touch, materiality), industrialization > modernization > globalization, the limitations of movement (physical and figurative – like our individual freedom figurative), heritage, dance, poetry, literature, the meaning of the grid, material tradition, the symbolism behind weights and measurements.
Some cool material used for her art (steeped in Korean heritage!):
a traditional Korean mat woven with a specific white rush, this mat has a special nod to our history (1800s) as there was a dance conventionally performed for the royal court then, featuring one dancer who would dance within the boundaries of the Hwamunseok). She creates performances with these and also orchestrates the placement and positioning of these mats, beyond the initial designs to convey other, specific ideas.
a Korean musical notation style developed in the Joseon Dynasty that distinctively communicates duration and pitch – she used this material to inform and construct patterns on her mat work.
traditional handmade Korean paper
As I am always very interested in the physical process of an artist, here are some details on how much work and sweat goes behind her works:
“Each mat is produced following a design by Kang and takes approximately one month to complete’ it’s completed with Kang’s hand as she adds threaded graphic patterns onto the died and woven mat as a final touch.” The woven mats (Hwamunseok) are produced with female artisans of Ganghwa Island in the Northern South Korea.
The threadwork woven over her metal cylindrical objects art takes around 3 months for Suki Seokyeong Kang to weave by hand.
J’ai décrouvis l’artiste Coréen Suki Seokyeong Kang à Pace, et au début, j’étais confus. J’aimais ses oeuvres, sa technique avec des matériaux et sa choix de couleur, et comme un Coréen, je voulais soutenir un artiste qui était Coréen, mais c’était difficile pour moi de les adorer, puis j’ai décidé de rechercher son processus et acheté ce livre. Il m’ouvert a son monde, et je regarde son art a nouveau avec un intérêt ranimé.
Elle est un artiste interdisciplinaire, dont les oeuvres, d’un seul coup d’œil montrent un mariage des matériaux provenu de l’histoire et la tradition Coréen avec une interprétation artistique. À un niveau plus profond, ces sont ses interprétations sur la monde moderne développant, utilisant des matériaux de la monde qui a existé auparavant
De ce livre, je suppose que cet motifs et questionnements l’intéressent: les places de nos corps dans la monde, la matérialité, l’industrialisation, le patrimoine, la danse, la poésie, la littérature, la signification de la grille, les poids et mesures…