Reporting from Shanghai: An Interview with Suki Seokyeong Kang

by My Art Guides Editorial Team
December 7, 2018
My Art Guides Editorial Team

Suki Seokyeong Kang is a Korean artist who lives and works in Seoul. Kang works in various media including installation and video in an expansive that draws from painting. She creates environment involving performance, sound, in an immersive and harmonious visual language that references Korean traditional arts.

Cristina Sanchez-Kozyreva: Please could you kindly introduce the works that you are presenting at the biennale and how they relate to your previous works. And what about the “activation” process in the performative parts of your work? How does the relationship you develop with Korean history plays out when outside the country, when in China?

Suki Seokyeong Kang: The title, “Black Mat Oriole”, is a compound of the words “Black Mat” and “Oriole”. In this context, the oriole is derived from Chunaengmu, which is a traditional solo dance from the Joseon Dynasty of Korea. It is a slow dance performed on a square mat called hwamunseok. The Black Mat in my work represents an individual’s territory and the movements that take place inside it. Through this interpretation, I sought to gradually show the invisible domains and stance of the individual. In translating the slow court dance into the gestures of an individual, I wanted to narrate the time employed in such slow movements and convey how an individual’s voice and gestures could designate and extend certain domains. That is, I portray the oriole’s movements on the black mat in order to provide a visible voice to the invisible domains and stance of the individual. Installed as dark space in Shanghai Biennial, Black Mat connotes the minimal space on which an individual can stand.

In terms of formal language, this space is the square through which I perceive painting, and this (in)visible space connects with the process of my search for gravity and balance. So through the ‘Activation’ with local dancers from Shanghai, I wish to share the structural grid and the construction methods of the modules that emerge in my process of perceiving the painting as a spatial concept. That spatial concept has been expanded in the form of movements that I call activation: through colors, gravity, texture, and body.

Cristina Sanchez-Kozyreva: How do you relate to Shanghai? Do you have an favourite aspects about this experience?

Suki Seokyeong Kang: Shanghai is a great to city to move fast in cultural aspect. Working with the team from the Power Station of Art and Shanghai Biennial was a wonderful experience. All the staff in the team was really energetic and focused and it what will remain from my first good experience in Shanghai. I wish I can have more time to spend in this city, I will be looking forward to visiting again later.

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