Soon Yul Kang
Soon Yul Kang explores several mediums such as paper collage, hand woven tapestry, installation, and photography with the themes of time, meditation, and healing in conjunction with Eastern thought of Yin and Yang and the Zen understanding of simplicity, stillness, repetition and rebirth.
She studied Fibre Arts at Ewha Womans University in Seoul, Korea and received an MA at Goldsmiths College in London. She exhibited widely in UK and Korea and internationally including Solo Exhibitions at Han Collection in London (Between HEART & MIND | 2017), La Nouva Pesa in Rome, Italy (Light & Poetry | 2016), Mokspace in London (Spiritual Journey | 2013) and the 4th Biennale of the End of the World in Argentina (2014-15). She was awarded the People’s Choice Award for the 4482 exhibition (2019) and the Heallreaf exhibition (2017).
The subject matter of time, healing, and meditation are concerned in my works. Using the medium of paper collage, Korean cultural elements are the main inspiration. Deconstruction Reconstruction 5 is a collage work made by handwriting Korean words of 마음[maum] which are Heart/Mind in English.
Rebirth after death is the key concept for this work. Reconstructing after deconstruction is a new beginning like rebirth which we constantly face living in contemporary society.
Soon Yul uses Korean mulberry paper called Hanji. She has nostalgic memories of this paper. She grew up with Hanji in her home, it connects to her childhood memories. It was used for living such as for covering doors, windows, and floors in the house. They were replaced with new Hanji paper from time to time. In doing that, the actions of tearing, cutting, and pasting were involved. Soon Yul was influenced by this process for her works. She uses traditional way to make ink for the calligraphy work and cutting of the written papers, and then, pasting of them one by one. The working process is very slow but meditative and this is as important as the result.
The work titled Invocation is an assembly with 100 collaged spheres. This was inspired by Korean culture, that is, Korean mothers in the old days, prayed their wishes in front of a bowl of water for good fortunes for their children and the wish is repeated like chanting. They believed that by repeating this prayer for 100 days, their wishes would be granted. It is called 정화수[Jeonghwasu] in Korean. Soon Yul was motivated by this culture for the work Invocation. She handwrote the Korean word of 사랑[sarang] which means love, repeating like chanting or prayers. Then, cut them into very tiny pieces and then reassembled to form the piece.
Through this ritualistic process, she contemplates about ‘Love’ or ‘Mother’ which reflects prayer, and the place where we always want to arrive at.