August 31, 2016

Byung Hoon Choi @ Friedman Benda, New York, NY

Byung Hoon Choi
Water Meditation

Friedman Benda, New York, NY
November 9 - December 17, 2016

Friedman Benda announces Water Meditation, Byung Hoon Choi’s second solo exhibition in New York. For over 35 years, the Korean artist has built a unique oeuvre drawing on Zen Buddhist ideologies of introspection and Taoist notions of balance. Known for his play between natural and fabricated elements, he sets rough beside polished, old against new. Byung Hoon Choi consistently uses the word “afterimage” in titling his work in reference to what he calls “ an imaginary and mystical encounter with a previous world not yet experienced.” He returns with new works in two mediums—traditional lacquer and basalt—centered on the theme of water.

This exploration of lacquer is a first for Byung Hoon Choi. Inspired by his Korean heritage, he draws on traditional craftsmanship in East Asia, where lacquer techniques have been widely practiced for over 2,000 years. In his experimentation, Byung Hoon Choi mixes pigment into the lacquer, especially apparent in the red undertones of afterimage of beginning 016-459. The smoothly polished lacquer reflects like liquid surfaces, a metaphysical ode to the exhibition’s title. Still water fills a number of the larger pieces, a more literal leitmotif.

Juxtaposing the resting water of the lacquer works, the fountains’ running water evokes the notion of a moving, living sculpture. The fountains represent a progression of Byung Hoon Choi’s work in basalt, growing vertically, resembling a scholar's rock or a naturally grown accumulation.  On a more intimate scale than before, new seating and a table balance the rounded shapes of the lacquer works. Emphasizing the rougher parts of the stone, Choi is seen exploring the affinity of polished basalt as allegorical liquid surfaces.

About Byung Hoon Choi: Short biography
A pioneer of modern Korean craft, Byung Hoon Choi’s work is both aesthetic and functional, employing numerous natural materials such as wood, clay, granite and natural stone to create minimal furniture that is seen as both object and art. Byung Hoon Choi’s work is held in numerous collections throughout Korea, including the National Museum of Contemporary Art and the Korean Culture and Art Foundation; abroad his work can be seen in the permanent collection of the Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein; The Metropolitan Museum of  Art, New York; and the Musée des arts décoratifs, Paris. In 1989 he was given the annual award from the Korean Craft Council and in 2007 he received Grand Prize at the Seoul Living Design Fair. He is currently a Professor at the College of Fine Arts at Hongik University in Seoul.

Friedman Benda, New York, NY

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