[NEWS] Venice Biennale 2022, Chun Kwang-young perseveres with making hanji packages

April 30, 2022 

Installation view of “Chun Kwang Young: Times Reimagined” at Palazzo Contarini Polignac in Venice, Italy (Park Yuna/The Korea Herald)

Venice, Italy, Sitting near the 'Hanji' sculpture, you will notice that heartbeat is irregular, leading you to wonder if your own heart is healthy.

Chun Kwang-young has stubbornly pursued his art with hanji over the past 30 years. His perseverance as an artist is being recognized at a collateral exhibition of the 59th Venice Biennale titled “Chun Kwang Young: Times Reimagined” at Palazzo Contarini Polignac, where 40 large-scale sculptures, installations and hanji pieces are on display.

Chun repeatedly forms hanji into 3D triangular shapes to constitute his art. They are turned into installations, sculptures and 3D paintings that he hopes will stand the test of time. The 78-year-old artist sticks to using pages of old books made of hanji that are at least 70 to 80 years old. 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. 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. 

Installation view of “Chun Kwang Young: Times Reimagined” at Palazzo Contarini Polignac in Venice, Italy (Park Yuna/The Korea Herald) 

Hanji is traditional Korean paper made from the inner bark of mulberry trees. It is mostly handmade by craftspeople using a scoop net and goes through some 100 processes. In his art, paper is tied to the environmental aspects. 

The time that he lives in, the air that he breathes in and the environment in which he lives. Chun started asking himself what qualitative values this world had. 








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