'Chun Kwang Young: Times Reimagined' officially opens at the Palazzo Contarini Polignac

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'Chun Kwang Young: Times Reimagined' officially opens at the Palazzo Contarini Polignac
Installation views “Chun Kwang Young: Times Reimagined”, 2022, Palazzo Contarini Polignac, Venice. Courtesy CKY Studio © Alice Clancy.

VENICE.- Times Reimagined is a multidisciplinary laboratory of Korean artist Chun Kwang Young who has been working for 30 years under the theme of the interconnectedness between living beings and the socio-ecological values of their relationships. In ecology, interconnectedness is an absolute factor for the reproduction and survival of all living things, as well as an essential for ensuring biodiversity and enhancing sustainability in any adverse conditions such as climate change.

The project includes 40 large-scale mulberry-paper reliefs, sculptures and installations created by artist Chun and an outdoor architectural structure, the Hanji House, designed by architect and urban planner Stefano Boeri.

As the prime medium of Chun’s creation, hanji (Korean mulberry paper), is a champion of ecological reproduction and circulation, which endures time and re-defines the notion of life cycle through its over thousand-years durability. It was shaped by Chun into metamorphotic creatures reminiscent of living beings or spectacular scenes with historical and cultural symbolism. In particular, the paper used in Chun’s art is not mass-produced, but a handmade product originated from the mulberry tree, embodying a cultural property fermented for several hundreds of years. The artworks made of hanji that Chun collected and dismantled from second-hand old books aged for nearly 100 years are rare treasures in this digital society, foregrounding the value of paper, and the information, knowledge, wisdom as well as the memory it denotes.

In dialogue with Chun Kwang Young’s works, the Italian architect Stefano Boeri designed the Hanji House as a site-specific commissioned architecture of this project. Installed in the Palazzo’s gardens, overlooking the Grand Canal in Venice, the Hanji House is a wooden pavilion, a practical model of ‘paper-tree architecture’ and it looks as a lantern from a distance. The design is inspired by the playful and yet meditative practice of folding paper in an infinite number of ways: the shape recalls ancient East Asian practices of paper-folding and tangram, besides the traditional Korean and East Asian houses, based on simple geometric modularity. It is made by a simple combination of volumes: four pyramids on the top of a parallelepiped, defining a planar surface shaped as a regular rhombus in the middle.

Inside the Hanji House, a real-time interactive art installation developed and created by media artist Calvin J. Lee transformed triangular hanji packages created by artist Chun Kwang Young into virtual form. The tranquil environment inside Hanji House offers an immersive space for visitors to unwind and explore their inner selves as if walking through the interior of Chun’s works.

The project and series events are curated by Yongwoo Lee, Manuela Lucà-Dazio and Liyin Wang. The book Times Reimagined is published in a 200-page colour version. Nine authors contributed their essays, including Anne Pasternak and Joan Cummins, John C. Welchman, Stefano Boeri, Anastasia Kucherova and Liyin Wang, among others.

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