Sun K. Kwak is a Korean artist working as an interdisciplinary artist in New York. She creates works that are thematically connected but take on different forms and formats from performance to animation to sculpture with various materials. Her most well-known series is Space Drawing, composed of simple masking tape that transforms a space into a new “pictorial reality” where full of dynamic energy mingles and flows, creating a space of limitless wonder and possibilities.
Kwak has had site-specific solo exhibitions in places such as Brooklyn Museum (New York), Queens Museum (Bulova, New York), New Art Gallery (Walsall, England), the Carleton University Art Gallery (Ottawa, Canada), the Charles B. Wang Center (Stony Brook University, New York), and Gallery Skape (Seoul, Korea). Group exhibitions include the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (South Korea), the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts (Taichung, Taiwan), Asian Art Museum (San Francisco), “Works & Process” a collaborative drawing performance at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York), Haus der Kulturen der Welt (Berlin), and the 6th Gwangju Biennale (South Korea).
Permanent collection locations of her works include the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (South Korea), “Percent for Art” Collection of the NYC Department of Education, PS298Q, Corona, NY, Seoul City Museum of Art (South Korea), Toranomon Hills Mori Tower (Tokyo, Japan), Samsung Life flagship (Gangnam, Seoul, Korea), Four Season Hotel (Orlando, Florida), CU Art Museum (the University of Colorado, Boulder, CO), and The James Hotel (Soho, New York).
She received her M.A. in Studio Art from New York University in 1997 and is a recipient of the Pollock Krasner Grant in both 2006 and 2011.
My works are born through the communion between the material and the spiritual, wherein my own self is constantly reflected emptying itself. In creating restrained and refined expression with mundane, mass-produced masking tape as a medium, the juxtaposition of value-of both medium and of expression- underscores my effort to strike a balance between polarizing principles. As a medium, black masking tape freely shifts between two and three-dimensional planes. Through the pliability and the accessibility of ordinary black masking tape, I aim to designate the lines as an extension of myself.
The process signifies my effort to unite myself with the medium as it weaves its way unhindered through varied visual and environmental spaces. I transferred into the black lines orchestrates the dynamism of manifold energies generated between the architecture’s idiosyncrasy and its surroundings. Structural tensions are now liberated into a new ‘pictorial reality’ where the viewers are invited. As they step into these three-dimensional drawings, their visual perception is expended to another dimension of time and space.
At the close of an exhibition, space once again becomes blank as the black tape of the drawings is pulled off the wall and thrown out. This process of emptying the space is a metaphor for the ephemeral nature of life and my acceptance of the emptiness of that nature. Yet the drawing lives on in the viewer's memories as an imprint that leaves the space forever altered. Through the series of these drawings on space, I visualize previously unseen space and time that existed only in our imagination and subconscious realm. This will project the viewer’s another existential being proposed in this new space and time.