Auction | China Guardian (HK) Auctions Co., Ltd.
2019 Spring Auctions
Asian 20th Century and Contemporary Art

Chun Kwang Young (b.1944)
Aggregation 07-D114(Executed in 2007)

Mixed media with Korean mulberry paper

163 × 131 cm. 641/8 × 515/8 in.

Signed in Chinese and English, titled in English, and dated on the reverse
29 Nov 2010, Hong Kong Ravenel Autumn Auction, Lot 12
Important Private Collection, Asia

Energy Abounding from Moments of Dissonance in Harmony
Illusory Scenes in Chun Kwang Young’s Work
“I want to represent the conflict between individuals and their past, present, and future. This subtle conflict hides underneath images of danger or harmony.”
— Chun Kwang Young
After graduating from Hongik University in 1968, the South Korean artist Chun Kwang Young completed an MFA at the Philadelphia College of Art in 1971 and remained in the United States until the 1990s. In the US, he came into contact with a number of schools of Western art and developed a profound interest in Abstract Expressionism. During the initial phase of his career, virtually all of his works were abstract paintings. In 1995, Chun returned to South Korea and elaborated upon an unusual creative process consisting of triangular pieces of polystyrene enwrapped in mulberry paper. His unique installations are imbued with his concerns for his home country and symbolize social fissions and fusions. Aggregation 07-D114 is a mature example of one such work.
Retracing Personal and Collective History Through Overlapping Shapes
Since returning to his homeland in the mid-90s, Chun Kwang Young invested all his attention into resolving one question: how should he, as a Korean artist, define himself on the global art stage? In 1995, as he reflected upon his childhood, Chun recalled that, in the town where he grew up, he would often see packages of medicinal ingredients hanging from bits of string attached to the eaves of pharmacies. Each of these packages corresponded to a specific patient’s ailments and was lovingly wrapped in mulberry paper. When the wind blew, the dangling packages would collide with one another, and this image became a great source of inspiration for Chun. The mulberry paper in Aggregation 07-D114 was taken from old Korean books. In the past, mulberry paper was widely used in Korea for a number of purposes, such as for writing or wrapping gifts, and therefore symbolizes the presence of the Korean people throughout history. In Chun’s work, the triangular packages made from thousands of pages of mulberry paper each represent individual entities or ideas. As they collide and communicate, they form vast protrusions and flat surfaces.
The text on these pages also symbolizes the history of Korea. In an increasingly globalized context, local Korean culture is continually being challenged, much like Chun’s values were challenged during the time he spent in the United States. Aggregation fuses Western Abstract Expressionism with traditional Korean media, reflecting Chun’s growth as a person and artist.
Reflecting Present Realities through an Abstract Medium
Chun Kwang Young’s works are highly abstract in terms of their structure. Inspired by Western Abstract Expressionism, Chun uses his triangular packages to add depth and dimension to his work. Meanwhile, aspects such as light and shadows, gradients, and visual illusions work with one another to imbue the work with additional layers of meaning. In Aggregation, the triangular packages each create tension between unity and division, hinting at the state of modern society. Those that protrude from the face of the work symbolize conflict, while those that form a flat surface symbolize harmony. On the left and right sides, the artist creates the illusion that the work is sinking downward to convey the suppression of information. Four flat surfaces depict comets through the use of shading, and while their darkest ends could represent their final destination, there is still a possibility of collision. Chun uses a three-dimensional medium to represent the notion of “flatness” in abstract art, namely the acknowledgement of the flatness of the canvas in one’s appreciation of the work as a whole. The sharp angles of the triangular packages create a relief-like texture, conveying the notions of collision and fusion while inviting the viewer to reflect on dichotomies such as traditions and present realities, conflict and harmony, and also homogeneity and individualism.

Price estimate:
HKD: 400,000 - 500,000
USD: 51,300 - 64,100

Auction Result:
HKD: 413,000



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