Kyunghwan Kwon engages with a diverse array of materials, styles, and subjects, exploring the interrelationship between social conditions and humans.Read More
In Kwon's early works, imagery of war, death, or destruction was often appropriated from mass media as a reflection on voyeuristic curiosity in a world inundated with images. Meticulously rendered in pencil and acrylic paint on black paper, Kwon's untitled drawings made between 2007 and 2014 show explosions and rockets in the form of well-known cartoon characters' heads. For the 'Ghost' (2009) series, Kwon turned photographs of corpses—downloaded from the internet—into 'connect-the-dot' puzzles, creating 'ghosts' of bodies.
Critiques of conventional values recur in Kyunghwan Kwon's practice, notably in the 'Rewrite' series (2014). In the videos and paper works that comprise 'Rewrite', an engaged couple edits the speech draft from their officiant. Typically, such speeches in Korean weddings contain an array of advice for the newlyweds. The editing process, however, suggests that they serve to impose rigid, traditional roles upon women, rather than contribute to the success of a marriage.
In 2016, Kyunghwan Kwon began utilising L-angle iron to construct sculptures. While structured in form, many of these are products of improvisation. As the artist writes in his statement for the installation Sigh and Whistle (2016), he did not apply specific rules to assembling iron pieces because 'they already carry underlying rules and [are] used as temporary building structures in our society.' The L-angle iron works are painted with anticorrosive paint in mainly bright orange, black, and grey—colours that resemble the red bricks or old cement of residential houses.
Kwon expanded his L-angle iron sculptures in further works, including improvisations such as The Home Sculpture (2016), along with more recognisable forms like TV Shelf (2016) and Blue Tower (2018). Determined by the space in which they are shown, Kyunghwan Kwon's L-angle iron sculptures reference the constant deconstruction and reconstruction of sectional furniture in the modern age, as well as the relationship between a given space and the object within.
The broad scope of Kyungwhan Kwon's practice was visible in his solo exhibition Opportunity (2020) at ONE AND J. Gallery in Seoul. Inspired by the eponymous rover that NASA dispatched to Mars in 2003, which went out of commission in 2018, Kwon created his own Opportunity out of a robot vacuum cleaner and found objects and released it into the streets, treating the city of Seoul as if it were an unknown terrain.
Domestic sculpture, BEAT360, KIA Motors, Seoul (2018); Condensation, Space O'newwall, Seoul (2014); The Rule Before Drying, Ilmin Museum of Art, Seoul (2014); I Can Do Everything, but I Can't Do Anything, ONE AND J. Gallery, Seoul (2012); The Room #2 Of Course, It is not that much beautiful!, Total Museum, Seoul (2008).
FINAL FANTASY FINAL FANTASY, HITE Collection, Seoul (2017); MEDIA ECSTASY, Kyungpook National Art Museum, Daegu (2017); Who's Who, Audio Visual Pavilion, Seoul, and Waley Art, Taipei (2016); Uproarious, Heated, Inundated, National Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul (2015).
Sherry Paik | Ocula | 2020