“Each work has its internal methodology and process of assemblage with a diagram and multilayered story.”
Interview by: Stephen Feather
Could you tell us a bit about yourself and your background? Where did you study?
I am a visual artist working with sculpture and installation, from South Korea and currently living and working in London. I graduated from BA Fine Art at Goldsmiths College in 2014. After one year of independent work, I started an MA in Sculpture at the Royal College of Art in London and graduated last year in 2017. Before I came to London, I studied Fashion for one year in Korea, and before that, I studied at Art High School.
During my BA I worked in different mediums, including painting, short film, collage and performance. From the very beginning, I created assemblages combining different materials with fabricated structures and domestic objects. For example, using found images, digital prints, and free-standing cutouts with a meshed structure and light. I wanted to form a visual diagram to make a dialogue between the different compositional elements, to explore a moment of becoming, evolving and penetrability.
Can you tell us about your approach to a new project? How do you find a starting point?
I collect moments, senses and words from my everyday experiences, and this material begins to open relationships with other expanded subjects. I am exploring a discourse around the Posthuman condition and ontology. Questioning human desires, and our social relations, the invisible powers and nerves that influence our perceptions and feeling of being in the world. Each work has its internal methodology and process of assemblage with a diagram and multilayered story. Narratives are continually changing in various directions and intersecting simultaneously throughout the composition. The works revolve around a landscape of surroundings or relationships between objects and the body.
In Believe Me/Life Attitude (2017) I took the idea of a Dentist practice room as the point of departure. I am interested in simulating a sense of lying down on the chair, encircled by multiple extended arms functioning as a machine connecting two living bodies. I extracted the power relationship between patient and doctor. I am interested in the patient's feelings of vulnerability, threat, embarrassment and pain. Material selection is central to my work, and here I used multiple colours, textures alongside layering, standing, suspended, holding and covering gestures. IF YOU ARE LUCKY YOU WILL SEE IT (Snehta Residency in Athens, Greece, 2018) was informed by my architectural surrounding in Athens. I noticed many empty and abandoned buildings and architectural fragments, ancient fragments of decorative elements from historical remains. In the artwork, I reinterpret my feelings about these architectural environments into new surfaces and imagine a growing and breathing organism.
You use wide range of materials in your work. Are there any materials that you specifically prefer or dislike? How does this affect your practise?
I often use flat images, rendered as cut-outs alongside a penetrable or permeable surface like mesh or perforated sheeting. For example, a physical barrier or membrane that divides space while the 'actual' spatiality is open and connected.
In 2016, I made a work called 'Inhale and Exhale', using a large block of sponge saturated with black ink, the ink kept the sponge continually wet. I am interested in the impact that one material can have on another, testing the tolerances and capacity of elements like a sponge. Here the sponge never loses it shape, even though it contains a considerable amount of liquid. The work is a porous and breathing mass situated in the moment of viewing; every element is growing and evolving together.
How do you bring these materials together? What kind of associations are you hoping to convey in combining these particular materials?
I assemble materials to generate a conversation like a new visual language. I am looking to open up possible meanings and potentials between elements to explore new positions in the world. I consider moments of a meeting where things touch and join, whether it physical or conceptual. I tend to use everyday or familiar objects, ubiquitous in life like string, fragmented fabric and push pins.
Believe Me/Life Attitude (2017) is a machine-orientated environment that involves products that mimic spaces of 'reality', nature, illusion and fantasy. There is a big aluminium mash (BBQ)basket, a fire with flame print, Aluminium and wooden sticks holding a plastic peach and hanging ceramic marshmallows. Here, I aim to create an imaginary space liberated from the constraints of time where meanings can be considered, reconsidered and in flux.
How has science and new technologies influenced your work? Would you say your work is making any predictions about the future?
I use science and technology as research resources, and recently I have been thinking a lot about different scales of existence, micro and macro and the relationship between the two. I have used images that were sourced from microscopes of living organisms to form the basis of new sculptures or cut-outs.
I have been considering how we associate with seemingly insignificant life forms like moss, fungi or insects. Also, the invisible molecular energy and transfer that can not be seen by the human eye. I am interested in the microscopic, miniature and cross-section.
Using digital editing software enables me to play around with new environments outside of immediate reality. Areas where compositional elements can be combined to create a new landscape with different scales, timing or dimension. In this sense, I am making predictions, but I think about the work less like predictions and more as a means of looking more closely at the present.
Tell us a bit about how you spend your day / studio routine? What is your studio like?
My studio routine differs depending on what piece I am developing. My work consists of large structural parts as well as small detailed, delicate objects. One day I will be cutting, mixing, sanding, sawing and another day will be quieter and more research orientated. Sometimes, I render images of work using computer software as well as drawing on paper. I collect digital and printed images based on my conceptual or visual interests. Most of the day I will research, edit, read, draw on my desk and investigate test materials for sculptures.
Currently, my space contains separate parts of past compositions piled on the side and work-in-progress. I am working with material that is quite difficult to handle, so they usually stay untouched on the floor. I work with large-scale printed images on the wall, and many other printed images on my desk and floor too. I try to keep organised and index images, but sometimes it gets quite hectic into a messy environment.
What artwork have you seen recently that has resonated with you?
I saw a work by Katja Novitskova in Whitechapel gallery. Her choice of materials, the visual and the movement was strong and powerful. The alienated futuristic environment with the grotesquely transformed baby swing, mini robot bug toys and digital printed bacteria image on an aluminium stand. I enjoy the flat and cut out pictures and the cold visual, shadow and the slowness of the chair's movement. The attention to detail was incredible.
Is there anything new and exciting in the pipeline you would like to tell us about?
Recently I am working with an idea around fence, barrier, fluid, metabolism, liquidity and the air. Also, trace and mark things that are passing through, grazed and as a temporal realisation of the self. I am hoping to transform and convey these ideas into new installation and sculpture.
Publish date: 02/10/2018
All Images are courtesy of the artist