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Curator and founder of La Scatola Gallery, Valentina Fois gives insight into the latest artist to join their ranks, Korean born, London based Jukhee Kwon, a Camberwell MA Book Arts graduate who ‘destroys’ books in order to give them a new life as epic sculptures.
Jukhee Kwon is another type: she ‘destroys’ books in order to give them a new life. Her artistic practice begins with collecting and researching "big fat" tomes, often encyclopaedic volumes and literature manuscripts; her favourites are old books from libraries, those we imagine covered in dust, hidden away in a university’s basement. Most have been heavily used and the artist carefully chooses books that she connects with emotionally. Metaphorically they represent life and nature, as well as the Kwon’s personal introspection, her way to perceive this world and cope with life. Through a meticulous and almost exhausting cutting process of the pages, the book is reborn and takes the semblance of a monument, fierily returning to its original form, which recalls to our mind the structure of a tree.
Hanging from the ceiling and floating in mid-air, they feel solid and serious while conveying a sense of serenity to the audience. As often happens, we feel safe surrounded by words: in a way, words are strangely authoritative, no matter what they tell us. Her installations bring a feeling of peace to the gallery that hosts the large scale of them, a new way to perceive the book, which lies implicit in Jukhee’s art.
'In Being', Jukhee Kwon's first solo show which I curated for La Scatola Gallery, is a series of new pieces intending to stress her personal feelings as well as the preconceived ideas related to nature and life. In doing so she questions her Eastern origins as well as the Western philosophy characterising her adopted city, London.
I am particularly excited about this project as I have long had a fascination with books: as an avid reader who loves to write notes on the pages, I find this repetitive process of disintegration particularly thrilling. What I enjoy most is the personal and cultural narrative within Jukhee’s work: through the deconstruction of the books she almost seems to fight against her deepest demons in order to find freedom and rebirth in the final composition.
Images, courtesy of La Scatola Gallery