A new spatial installation from Suki Seokyeong Kang brings a vision of Korean life to Liverpool transforming the Bluecoat gallery space into ‘an interface between the environment, humans and objects’.
And you do feel transported into another place walking into the installation. It’s carefully constructed wooden dimensions amplify its woven neighbour the hwamunseok – a traditional Korean mat, interpreted as the minimum space provided for each individual in Korean society. It’s from the main central mat in ‘Land Sand Strand’ which the artist has designed different choreographs relating to jeongganbo, a system of musical notation invented in 1397–1450.
As an opener to this year’s Liverpool Biennial performers delivered an ‘activation’ of the installation where they and members of the public moved around using the objects and layout around them to convey a restricted form of creative expression as per jeongganbo.
Would you feel bound by the mat. Could you leave its woven texture for the smooth surface of the floor. Where could you lean. There are no obvious comfortable standing points. Many jut out awkwardly whilst giving a sense of expanse. As a metaphor for social structures, the installation is unusually constrained by borders. Physically and mentally. Interior and exterior. Human and non-human. Space and non-space.
Her sculptures are connected through steel, fabric and wood, side-by-side, vertical and horizontal, stacked, up-high or low. The use of colour is muted giving way to black, white and pastel tones. Dripped and splattered paint co-exists next to formal, geometric metal patterns. By combining found materials such as chairs, concrete, table leg wheels and rough woollen textures the tall, narrow sculptures in particular could look almost-human in form. And once again in alignment with Kang’s jeongganbo they are not easily moved or transformed.
“In painting, installing my work and creating visual balance, it becomes systematic—the whole thing, a big Jeong.”
There is so much happening in respect of Korean culture versus Western influence in Kang’s work which makes it so interesting. There are multiple levels at play. Whilst seemingly fixed, plain and restricted in its gaze and elements, its underlying consideration of shape, pattern, texture and form as a direct line of enquiry with both traditional and modern re-workings of materials, alongside culture, symbolism, harmony and ideology makes it a more conscious, and inviting, space to contemplate.
On until Sun 28 Oct