59th International Art Exhibition. La Biennale di Venezia
Chun Kwang Young: Times Reimagined by Yongwoo Lee and Manuela Lucà-Dazio, in collaboration with Stefano Boeri
Palazzo Contarini Polignac, Venice
April 23 – November 27, 2022
Times Reimagined is an aesthetic laboratory of 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.
This project will include 40 large-scale mulberry-paper reliefs, sculptures, and installations created by artist Chun and a site-specific architectural structure 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 the life cycle through its over thousand years of 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 solid handmade product originating from the mulberry tree, embodying a cultural property fermented for several hundreds of years. This rare treasure in a digital society foregrounds the value of paper, and the information, knowledge, wisdom as well as memory it denotes.
In dialogue with Chun Kwang Young’s works, the Italian architect Stefano Boeri has designed the Hanji House as a site-specific commissioned architecture for this project. This foldable architectural structure was built with timber and textile membrane on the soil as a practical model of ‘paper-tree architecture’, which can be viewed as a ‘light box‘ from a distance. The outdoor self-standing object’s design is inspired by the playful and yet meditative practice of folding the paper – in an infinite number of ways. The shape recalls ancient East Asian practices of paper- folding and tangram, besides the traditional Korean and Japanese houses, based on simple geometric modularity. It is made by a simple combination of volumes: four pyramids on the top of a parallelepiped leave a planar surface shaped like a regular rhombus in the middle.
To further the discussion centering around Chun Kwang Young: Times Reimagined, an academic forum will be organized on the opening day titled The Art and Built Environment in the Age of Ecological Crisis. Against the backdrop of human experiences of technological diversity, convenience, and the utopian illusion of the future, in contrast to the rapid decline of biodiversity and staggering ecological imbalance, biologist, philosopher, artists, architects, activists, critics, and curators will be gathered to propose constructive plans to respond to the current situations. Speakers are Stefano Boeri, Choe Jaechun, Otobong Nkanga, Sam Bardaouil, Li Xiangning, Andrew Brewerton, Lucia Pietroiusti, Jean-Marie Gallais, Yuk Hui.