Oct 17, 2015

Fire, Wind and Tree of Sound

Gyeonggi Cultural Foundation

The Neighborhood Artists - 8.Donghun Sung

Time and Spacewith a Sound and a Resonance 
I have often met artist Donghun Sung for one thing or another, but ironically I did not have any chance to visit his studio so far. I could make a chance to visit his studio but not having the chance totally comes from my laziness. So it is true that I was curious about his studio which is the incubator of an artist when I saw him and his works.

As most people who do the similar job with me would do, I tend to visit artists’ studios for my work, willing or not. Sometimes I visit their studio with a specific purpose such as for an exhibition, or their artwork, or the article on artists and their works, but I just visit there just because I understand an artists’ studio is the starting point of all the main tasks of an art museum that should be performed with artists. And sometimes it helps the blockage to be removed and I think it is a good attitude to minimize physical and psychological misunderstandings. In fact, I think to visit artists’ studio is the most important effort that a planner should make.

On the other hand, visiting artists’ studio can be a legitimate opportunity for the office worker who works at the museum to get out of the workplace. Visiting studios comes from not only the business purpose but also my personal interest. I have a keen interest on artists’ work and life as a curator. When I go somewhere, I often make a plan thinking of artists’ studios nearby considering it is not easy for me to make time for visiting studios.

Of course when deciding whose studio I will visit, I make an appointment with the artist after estimating when the previous schedule is over. A sudden visit can be a burden for the artist. Sometimes a sudden visit makes me satisfied because I can catch a glimpse of the artists in the studio and its atmosphere as usual. It can be less effective to feel the usual atmosphere in the too organized and clean studios, but I put priority on the studio to understand artists and their works in balance.

I thought that the studio of Donghun Sung would be more spacious than those of other artists. Indeed it was. I can make a guess of the full scale of his studios when he explained that his studios are split into a few locations according to the process and the characteristics of his work. The size of his studio in Ansung is really large as I expected. He is a sculptor, and the studio should accommodate the large size of his sculpture and handle the complicated process resulting from experiment and combination of various materials and the incidental technological processing with ease.

And I did not think that the studio is located on a hill or on a narrow road because the large sculptures should be conveyed. By the aid of my navigator, I could easily find the studio of Donghun Sung. It was large and spacious but relatively cozy and quiet. Maybe it could be because he stopped his working due to the open studio, but the open area where the studio is located, its surroundings and the time when the event begins was enough to emphasize such an atmosphere. The Inside of the studio was well-organized and arranged to clearly understand the working process and his works. It was the time and the space to show the consideration and the authenticity of the artist who does all his best in everything including his work.

It was enough to show his sculptures, which can look tough and improvisatory at a glance, are being born through systematic and detailed preparation and the working process and to deliver that the working process is not different from giving birth in that we cannot loosen up for a second. The artist shined as a host who receives his acquaintances coming in and out frequently at ordinary times and general visitors making time to come from here and there. His iron was never cold and each of his works answered the questions of visitors with their own sound and resonance. I could feel the resonance and the thrill of his works into which artist Sung melted himself with awakening himself and his surroundings and being united with iron, fire and wind.

The studio was divided into the inside and the outside, and his large sculptures were arranged here and there at the outside, which reminded us of the permanent exhibition space. The best part of the event was the dinner time when everyone gets together lightening up in his work, ‘The Sound Tree’ which was placed in the middle of his garden. It would be kept as a warm memory of everyone. It was the time and the space when and where all the efforts and preparation by the artist who tried to deliver his own art impulse and breath merge into one.

Especially, he moved several times before settling down at this studio and so he would sort out his works unwillingly. That’s not applied only to him. Nevertheless, I was impressed that he cherished almost all his works from his early days to now. For it is much more difficult and complicated for a sculptor to set up a studio and move due to the size, the quantity and the form of the artworks. Unfortunately we could not see all his works under the limited situations on the day. However, we can tell his attitude towards his own works from the fact that there exist a number of his works and they can be displayed at the exhibition.

It is not that easy for the artist to open his studio and talk with visitors. But as he is open minded, he was pleased to explain his work in detail even if he repeated himself. Even not in front of the camera. I still can picture his putting the priority on meeting visitors rather than filming an interview. It was happy for all to satisfy their curiosity and prejudice on the distinctive atmosphere of the artist and his works and the form of his art, Donghun Sung-specific materials, techniques and interpretation.

Written by Chunnam Park
(Chief Curator, Cube Art Gallery of Seongnam Arts Center)

Donghun Sung

B.A. of Sculpture Department at College of Arts, Chunang Univ.
Graduated from Ceramics Department of Busan Design High School (Major : Molding)

Solo Exhibitions
2014 The Sonance of Iron Furnace, Selected Artist of the Year, Dong-Ho Steel Foundation, Taiwan
2013 The Grass Mountain Chateau, The Invited Exhibition, Taipei, Taiwan
2011 The Invited Exhibition of Juming Art Museum, Juming, Taiwan
2009 Nomadism in Brain, Savina Art Museum, Seoul
2007 Ignorant Imagination & Sensuous Experimentation, MOAGallery, Paju
And others

Planned Exhibition & Group Exhibitions
2013 Now Live Here Like This, Pier2 Center Permanent Outdoor Sculpture, Kaohsiung, Taiwan
2012 Project Daejeon 2012 : Energy, Daejeon Museum of Art, Daejeon
2010 International Iron & Steel Sculpture Festival, “Sound Tree”, Permanent Outdoor Sculpture, Kaohsiung, Taiwan
World Expo Shanghai, Korean Pavilion, Shanghai, China
2008 Geungang Nature Biennale, Permanent Outdoor Sculpture, Gongju
2007 The 4th World Ceramic Biennale, “Sound Tree”, Permanent Outdoor Sculpture, Icheon
2006 Art Residency, Kunsthalle Krems, Austria
2005 Sanhosae Korean Park, Permanent Outdoor Sculpture, Costa Rica
2004 Waisenhaus Projects, Permanent Outdoor Sculpture, Munich, Germany
2003 Toll Wood, The Art Festival, Munich, Germany
And others

Awards & Residency
2009 Sandarbh UK International Artist Residency, England
1990 A Grand Prize winner of the 1st MBC Figurative Sculpture Fair
A Grand Prize winner of the 7th Kyongin Art Exhibition

Gyeonggi Cultural Foundation
Credits: All media
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