When he was a young artist in the 1970s, Chun Kwang Young left Korea and came to New York with a fantasy of the American dream. He was immediately culture-shocked by the materialistic society he witnessed and struggled to forge a unique voice as an artist. Struck by a bout of inspiration (which he describes at length in his artist statement), he began using newspapers as a sculptural medium. Young folds their pages into triangular prisms, aggregating them into crater-like shapes that evoke the surface of the moon. His style is inspired by Abstract Expressionism. Though his work recalls the free-flowing movement of Jackson Pollock’s paintings, his process is far more hands-on and meticulous than splashing paint.
Using newspapers fascinates Young both visually and conceptually. Each page contains a different story and together they accumulate into a depiction of humanity’s quest for understanding. “Every piece of information is the end product of a struggle for hegemony, as well as an accumulation of human experience,” he wrote. “One hypothesis ceaselessly conflicts with another, and finally becomes a new knowledge. While these kinds of processes are sometimes made in a peaceful way through debates and publications, they sometimes happen in the shape of physical conflicts like wars led by the governing class.” Since his return to Korea, he has continued to sculpt with newspapers as a way to process the strife that surrounds him.
Images via Arts Observer.