Appearing simple at first glance, Chung Seoyoung's sculptures are cryptic objects that connect disparate ideas, time, and spaces in what she calls 'sculptural moments'. Chung also works across installation, drawing, photography, and video to consider the layered relationships between processes of artmaking, language, and the material world.Read More
Chung received an MFA in Sculpture at Seoul National University in 1989 and moved to Germany to study at the State Academy of Fine Arts in Stuttgart. Upon returning to Korea in 1996, she found that the ideological dichotomy between Korean modern abstract painting and populist Minjung art of the previous decade was giving way to alternative, more individualistic approaches to art. In response to this backdrop, Chung Seoyoung began to utilise inexpensive and industrial materials such as styrofoam, plastic, and plywood to create artworks that contemplate the fundamental qualities of sculpture.
In the late 1990s, Chung worked closely with a number of artist-driven, non-profit organisations at the forefront of the contemporary art scene based in Seoul. She was an artist-in-residence at the innovative Ssamzie Space in 1998, and became one of the 20 artists, theorists, critics, writers, and students who founded Art Space Pool in the following year. In 1999, her work also inaugurated Alternative Space Loop in a two-person exhibition with fellow artist Choi Jeonghwa.
The artworks exhibited at her seminal solo show Lookout (2000) at Seoul's ArtSonje Centre exemplify the enigmatic nature of Chung Seoyoung's sculptures. Lookout (1999) is an abstracted and miniaturised fire station, built out of wood; in Flower (1999), five carved styrofoam pieces were arranged into a from evocative of a flower, while Gatehouse (2000) presents a treehouse-like structure without an actual tree. In 2016, the three works were reinstalled in the same places at ArtSonje Centre in the group exhibition Connect 1: Still Acts with the addition of I Don't Know About the Ear (2016)—a latex foam ear attached to the wall without context or explanation.
In an interview with Seoul's Barakat Contemporary in 2020, for her solo exhibition Knocking Air, Chung Seoyoung defined sculpture as 'a platform that reveals a very active, fluid state'. When otherwise unrelated images and elements are brought together in her work, they are 'revealed, for an instance, in a moment of sculpture'. In the installation Nobody Notices It (2012–2016), for example, the viewer can sit on a circular pad and listen to a set of headphones while facing a rock-like sculpture. The soundtracks, derived from composer Manfred Werder's 2005/1, consists of recordings from a Zurich train station, suggesting constant movement and realigning our preconceived notion of the sculpture as a static object.
While known primarily as a sculptor, Chung Seoyoung also incorporates text, sound, and performance into her work to explore the construction of social norms and signifiers. In the three-channel video installation The Adventure of Mr. Kim and Mr. Lee (2010–2012), performers are dressed in a way that belies their physical appearances—a child wears clothes associated with the elderly—exposing the social conditions embedded in such ordinary items as clothing.
In 2003, Chung Seoyoung was selected alongside Bahc Yiso to represent Korea at the 50th Venice Biennale. Their works were shown together with Kim Beom's in Two Hours (2016), at Tina Kim Gallery, New York, which considered the three artists' contributions to the establishment of contemporary Korean art in the 1990s.
Selected solo exhibitions include Ability vs Invisibility, Tina Kim Gallery, New York (2017); The Speed of the Large, The Small of the Wide, Ilmin Museum of Art, Seoul (2013); and The Adventure of Mr. Kim and Mr. Lee, LIG Art Hall, Seoul (2010).
Sherry Paik | Ocula | 2020
Chung Seoyoung, who is putting on a solo show in Korea for the first time in four years, has filled the gallery space with mysterious objects, as usual.
From 2 March to 15 April 2017, New York's Tina Kim Gallery will present their first solo exhibition of South Korean artist Chung Seoyoung. Entitled Ability vs. Invisibility, the show features sculpture, installation and video work from the 2000s to the present. Chung Seoyoung (b. 1964), who has lived in Germany for many years, is a...
On view from 22 September to 29 October 2016 at Tina Kim Gallery in New York, Two Hours is an exhibition featuring South Korean artists Yiso Bahc, Seoyoung Chung and Beom Kim. Curated by Hyunjin Kim, the 42 works span a period of dramatic political change between the late 1990s and the early 2000s.