b. 1966 Seoul, South Korea; Lives and works in New York, NY
Seong Chun (b. 1966 Seoul, Korea) is an artist who incorporates aspects of language, minimalism and seriality to explore notions of space and time. Her work transforms mundane materials, such as paper or thread, into conceptual structures that realize the systems and abstract patterns of human language and rituals. Through a repetitive, habit-forming and labor intensive process, Chun embraces a conceptual space where multiple meanings coexist in congruent uncertainty.
Chun has a longstanding interest in modes of communication and the written form to create abstract objects that emphasize the limiting and opposing nature of language. Playing with the notion that language is elusive, her work questions if words can escape from her visualization of meaning.
Her sculpture begins with armature that mirrors deconstructed block letters, around which she crochets strips of paper with text that has been removed from its immediate context. Using paraphrase to quote literary works, her words are partially dissimulated by the art work, as the strips of text are woven into Chun’s compositions. “Literary references provide the conceptual underpinnings for the sculptures where the incorporated text is partially obscured or completely embedded within the woven form,” Chun explains. A fragmented narrative emerges to consider the opposition of language and communication.
A dedicated study of abstracted language and communication is further evident in Chun’s works on paper, which are notched in a similar way as her crocheted sculptures. Appearing computer-generated, her paintings generally consider the relationship between the digital and the analog.
Her work continues to question the tricky relationship inherent between image and text. The text remains anchored in its physical form and yet, the ideas escape the confines of the abstracted structure to describe the nuances of meaning.
Chun’s practice often reflects on landscape and architectural forms while echoing attributes of Korean ceramics. Her sculptures incorporate structural principles of balance, symmetry, and geometry, while her drawings make simultaneous reference to graffiti, street tags, and medieval stained glass and tapestry. As a student, Chun was particularly struck with the visual balance found in Mondrian’s paintings. In her own works, she continues to adapt Mondrian's use of primary colors and horizontal and vertical black lines.
Chun received her MFA from New York University in 1992. She lives and works in New York City.
Her work has been included in important exhibitions at Weatherspoon Museum, University of North Carolina (2012), Davis Museum and Cultural Center, Wellesley College (2007), Arkansas Arts Center (2006), Orange County Museum of Art (2004), Gwangju Biennale (2002), Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College (2002), Museum of Fine Art, Santa Fe (2002), Neuberger Museum of Art (2002), New Museum (2000), Bronx Museum of Art (2000), Brooklyn Public Library (1998), and Art in General, New York (1997).