My practice centers on process-based works which explore the ineffable, expressive and material limits of images and objects as personal, reflective conduits. A historical event comes into my consciousness through a found document and I channel it into my work through personal reflection and material engagement. Original photography along with found images, objects, and historical detritus, are assembled and mounted on handmade, sculptural forms; these devices operate as boundaries that create relationships and divisions between pictures, texts, ideas, and natural and abstract forms. My work is a way of producing fantasies and narratives through the compilation of object and image.
My background in architecture, sculpture, and photography, informs my material-oriented process of assembling sculptures in which the physical and chemical interactions between materials—for instance, the oxidization of metal by salt and water or the active molds growing in can of apple juice—inflect the work’s content as evidence of activity, entropy, or simply an intimate engagement. I have a physical with various types of wood and metal, through processes such as sanding, grinding and varnishing.
I studied architecture in my native Korea prior to coming to the United States in 2002 to pursue visual art. In 2009, I received a BFA with a concentration on sculpture, followed by an MFA from Yale University. At Yale, I deepened my investigation into the connection between a desire to revive and relive memories and the constantly changing nature of the materials which act as conduits for transference and recollection.
In 2010, I travelled to Bolivia to research the historical silver mines of Potosí. My interest in the site stemmed from the relationship between the physical properties of raw materials and the fluctuation of their value and status in our culture and global economy. I produced works from the trip which blend documentary images and attempt to make up for the camera’s limitations: the effect of the altitude of the region’s salt flats on perspective and depth, for instance, or the chance encounters and unexpected emotions that are often stirred on such solitary journeys, but do not enter the camera’s lens.
Bolivia appears in my work as mainly empty landscapes; they operate as quiet spaces for psychic projection. Currently, I am experimenting with inkjet printing and dry vacuum press photo mounting onto aluminum. An image becomes physical through printing and enters real space as an object. Mounting images on aluminum is a process that gives strength and dimension to the paper.