Park Seungmo Solo Exhibition
Curator: Park Yonni
06.24 - 07.30, 2021
Tang Contemporary Art is proud to present Korean artist Park Seungmo’s solo exhibition at Hong Kong Space. The exhibition features Park’s representative wire figurative sculptures from his famous Maya (Illusion) series, collected from New York, Berlin, and Seoul. His picturesque sculptures lead the audience to the momentary experience of the boundaries between reality and
memory, truth and perception, and consciousness and longing.
Park Seungmo is an artist who throws questions without a cease. His fundamental question begins with “Who am I?”. He spent the early years of his life in a rural area, which compelled him to make sense of his surrounding environments. He thought, “If surrounding environments shape a person, perhaps I am also made of a collection of happenstance events or some grains of dirt.” Park then began to search for an answer through studying Sanskrit and Oriental philosophies where similar ideologies originate from.
There is a Sanskrit word for illusion, maya, which literally means “Indeed, there is nothing.” Keeping some distance is needed in order to understand one of Park’s artworks, for which he puts together multiple layers of 0.5 mm-diameter stainless steel mesh to remind us of a drawing. When viewed from the right distance, a multi-dimensional image that is generated by the juxtaposition of silhouettes through a touch of light and darkness can be seen. On the other hand, when viewers get too close, what is seen becomes ambiguous because the elements composing the image become scattered. The viewers can only get a misleading image made by a series of irrelevant fragments. According to Park, a human, too, is a mere image created by this kind of fragment, fragments that signify environments, jobs, and personal relationships etc.
Park goes further by utilizing aluminum or stainless-steel wire when crafting his sculptures, comparing these works to shadow-plays. If we put together our hands to make a shadow image of a butterfly on a white wall, we can recognize the shadow as a butterfly only by seeing its outlines – similar to how Park replicates only the outlines of objects wrapped tightly with stainless steel wires. This approach resonates with Park’s view that people also exist as outlines without substance and leads him to another question: Can we claim outlines as the substance and proof of existence? We might say that being humans and not being humans are the same, or being things and not being things are the same. Park suggests that this sort of reasoning is an illusion as well. The reason we believe in the existence of something despite the absence of its substance is that we are unable to comprehend reality. It is like thinking that I know I exist as a person but I only see the body as a shell; I can’t know what is inside.
“In the past, I was laboring to find answers, but now I am thinking only about continuing to add questions,” said Park. Park’s artworks are his way of journeying to personal enlightenment without conveying messages. They help him ask himself to find out who he is through art as a meditative mean, exploiting both the emotive side and the rational side of the mind. Park is able to show us, ultimately, an utter awareness of impermanence and transiency in life.
“It never was, never is and never will be. We were never born. We never died and we never will.”
— Excerpt from the author’s note.
Park Seungmo was born in Sanchung, Korea in 1969, and graduated with the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Sculpture in Dong-A University of Busan, Korea, and is currently a sculpture artist based in New York. Specialising in the manipulation of metal wires, Park has created many different series of figure sculptures and sculpture paintings that are praised internationally for their natural fluidity and realistic appearences.
Park’s works have always taken a prominent position in the art field and under the media spotlight, being featured in the Korean movie Parasite which was awarded with the 92nd Academy Awards. His works have also been displayed in more than 40 exhibitions worldwide, such as “Arena” at Taipei Fine Art Museum in 2017 and “Korean Eye” at Museum of Arts and Design in New York, USA 2011. Many museums, galleries, major enterprises and public figures have collected Park’s works as well.