brilliant 30: Sunghong Min
Traversing the Mutual Relationship of Temporal and Spatial Layers
Sunghong Min, Superimposed Sensibility: Reconsidering the Uncanny
Sunghong Min's works gravitate from mutual relations; these are based on his personal attention to the experiences and changing circumstances of individuals or, more simply, documentation of the people who surround him. His works highlight mutual relationships, expand on their significance and diversely compose temporal and spatial layers. Overlapped Sensibility expresses sentimental layers added to a particular object or space, or the process of re-acquaintance. Factors that cause a change in the meaning of existence, for instance what is common or different, familiar or unfamiliar, are restructured through painting, photography, drawings, small sculptures or even ice sculptures. Through these various forms, the artist repeatedly forms symbols. In drawing out the tension between familiar and unfamiliar, Min has not limited himself to the canvas, as was his major; he has taken to diverse materials and methods.
Individual symbolic embodiments created by the artist are rendered visually on the picture plane, then made into three-dimensional sculptures. Through this transposition, the artist encourages a visual re-acquaintance with the relationship between forms, a thoughtful inquiry into the essence of identity between complex relationships. A symbol is typically a representation of a historically familiar thing within a cultural context. Min Sung Hong renders isolation and integration symbolic in a visual way in new spaces and cultures; in so doing, the artist presents the viewer with new perceptions and experiences for that symbol. The actual sculpture and its image are shown together in order to illuminate the truth.
Q. Could you describe your work?
A. My works are created with diverse methods, from photographic collages to drawings, sculptures, installations, and so on. Also important are the experiential spaces or the sentimental connections between objects encountered by chance, and the process of semantic re-acquaintance that occurs while establishing that relationship; my works embody those processes. My working process is a very corporeal one; I tear, break, disassemble, and reassemble them.
I have always wanted to capture in my works the relationship between myself and the environment I live in, the cognitive process which establishes this relationship, and the evanescent sentiments that arise in that process. - Sunghong Min -
Q. Could you tell us more about your working process?
A. Objectified materials and collected images are disassembled and assembled over multiple iterations in order to embody emotional sensations that I have experienced. The process is that of expressing my emotions through repetitively tearing and taping together photographs, or taping over the empty, cut-out spaces with clear adhesive tape, or altering architectural structures with diverse materials or collected objects. I have always wanted to capture in my works the relationship between myself and the environment I live in, the cognitive process which establishes this relationship, and the evanescent sentiments that arise in that process.
Q. Tell us about your recent <Overlapped Sensibility> series.
A. It was inspired by the thought that the objects around me can also be expressed as their own representations. My first work Overlapped Sensibility (Lamp, Tape) was an effort to explain the process of gaining lucidity in a dark space. More specifically, darkened spaces lead us to think more, and I experienced a greater focus on the space and the objects around me. I photographed the moments in which the outline of objects and spaces become clearer after opening my eyes. Once the images were printed, I tore them, and then reattached them using transparent adhesive tape. Overlapped Sensibility (U-Haul Box, Photos) was created using materials from photographs in paper boxes that I used for packing my stuff whenever I moved to a new place to live. I took those old photographs, tore them to fine shreds, and then put them together in the form of the box that once held these photos. As you can see from the title, the specifics of the objects and their relationships are indicated in the subtitle.
Q. You originally majored in painting. Was there a particular person who influenced your decision to expand into diverse artistic genres?
A. I admire all artists who practice nature art and process art. It was around the time I graduated from college that I became acquainted with nature artists and got involved in nature installation art. Coming from a painting major, it was an exhilarating experience. The one person who affected me the most was John Roloff, the natural installation artist, who was also my guidance professor while I was studying abroad at the San Francisco Art Institute.
Q. What is the seed of your imagination?
A. I try to put an aesthetic lens to my own life as an artist. As much as process is crucial to my work, I try to find concurrencies and intersections between my life and art. I often find inspiration in that. I might be strolling around somewhere and rediscover a space or an object that had become mundane. It might be the context, or circumstance - but those rediscoveries become stock ideas for my work. They may be everyday items, and seem insignificant, but if I feel that that it can present an interesting form, then I use it in my work.
Q. What makes your art brilliant?
A. I can't provide a singular answer, but I would say that my forte is in being undaunted by any new medium, and rolling with it, trying new things, and making it part of my process.
Overlapped Sensibility: Birds. 2014. Ceramic, white cement, acrylic on wood. Installation View
The Island. 2011. Ceramic on mirror, photographic documentation. Installation view
The Island. 2011. Photographic documentation. Dimensions variable
Festival in the Island. 2008. Oil on canvas, ceramic, wood. Installation view
Festival in the Island. 2008. Oil on canvas, ceramic on wood. 193 x 162.5 cm
Sunghong Min earned his B.F.A in Painting at the Chu-Gye University for the Arts, and went on to get his M.F.A in Painting at the San Francisco Art Institute. He has been a full-time artist since. Min has presented more than a dozen solo exhibitions since 2002, including <The Island: Garden> (Diego Rivera Gallery, San Francisco, California, USA, 2002), <The Island> (E3 Gallery, New York, USA, 2003), <17 Minutes 52 Seconds in 490 Square Feet> (Sabina Lee Gallery, Los Angeles, CA, USA, 2008), and <Compression> (Gallery MANO, Seoul, 2012). Min has participated in diverse group exhibitions including <ART BANK 2nd Nominated Artists Exhibition> (MMCA, Gwacheon, Korea, 2006), <The Longest Day of Summer, One Lucky Day> (S1F Gallery, Los Angeles, CA, USA, 2009), <Crisis? What Crisis> (Wannabee Gallery, Milano, Italy, 2010), and <Taehwa River Eco Art Festival: Bridge to the Future> (Ulsan Bridge, Ulsan, Korea, 2014). Min SungHong was the winner of the Montana Artist Residency Award in 2004. His works are included in many different collections, including Seoul Design House Inc., the Synergy Art Foundation Ltd. in Mumbai, Green Cardamom Gallery in London, the Capital Group in New York, and the MMCA, Gwacheon, Korea.