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July 26 - Aug 8, 2024

Opening Reception: Friday, July 26, 6 - 8 pm

Kejoo Park

Echoes in Time

 

               

 

curated by Irene Gong 

ABOUT

New York, NY -  Space776 Gallery is pleased to present Kejoo Park’s solo exhibition, Echoes in Time, on view from July 26 through  August 8, 2024, curated by Irene Gong. This marks Kejoo Park’s inaugural solo exhibition in New York after nearly 35 years of expanding her artistic and architectural footprint in Germany and Switzerland. 

Since the mid-1980s, Korean-American conceptual artist and landscape architect Kejoo Park has employed painting, sculpture, performance, and site-specific installations to deeply contemplate the interactive harmony between humans and nature. Drawing from Eastern philosophies like Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism native to Korea, as well as Western philosophies and cultures from her experiences in Germany, Park's work is a fusion of these influences. This exhibition showcases pieces from her recent and previous series, including Song of the Earth (2019-2021), Wanderer (2022), and Visible-Invisible (2024).

 

Park's art delves into the intricate relationships between humanity and the natural world through a diverse range of artistic mediums, often exploring site-specific and spatial themes. Central to her artistic philosophy is the concept of dualism, which she views as inherently interdependent. By bridging contrasting elements of life such as life and death, inner and outer, and illusion and reality, Park creates a dialogue within her art that unites these opposites rather than allowing them to clash. 

 

From the Song of the Earth series, Kejoo Park drew inspiration from Gustav Mahler’s late-Romantic composition Das Lied von der Erde, which translates to The Song of the Earth in English. Integrating song cycle and symphony, Mahler conveyed the fragility of life during a difficult period. After reading Hans Bethge's collection of 83 ancient Chinese poems titled Die Chinesische Flöte (‘The Chinese Flute’), Mahler was captivated by the beauty of nature and selected 7 poems, which he adapted into verses for Das Lied von der Erde. These verses portray the cycle of living, parting, and salvation. Kejoo Park, inspired by Mahler's Taoistic symphony, particularly resonated with verses from a poem by the Tang Dynasty Chinese poet Li Bai. Blending Eastern and Western influences, she conceived paintings while listening repeatedly to Mahler’s composition in her studio, transforming her musical and poetic reflections into tangible spirituality on canvas. Three selected works from this exploration are displayed in our Echoes in Time exhibition: Drinking song of the sorrow of the Earth (2021), The lonely one in autumn 1 (2021), and On youth (2021).

 

Like Mahler, who affectionately referred to himself as a wanderer of the earth, Park similarly embraces this identity. She recognizes nature as a holistic system of giving and receiving, reviving and surviving, independent yet interdependent. Utilizing the drawing techniques of Eastern traditional art, she transfers her visual memories of landscapes onto canvas, capturing the resilience of nature from direct encounters. At the gallery, she showcases Landscape Rondo (2020) and Memory 1 (2022), embodying the cyclical return of nature through time.

Her recent Visible-Invisible series draws inspiration from Joseph Beuys’s final project, 7000 Eichen (‘7000 Oaks’), a long-term environmental art initiative where participants planted oak trees paired with basalt stones, blending environmental activism with public art. In this context, the sculptures in Park's series are subtle and blend into their surroundings, visible to those who reflect deeply on their Taoist-inspired meanings. 

Developing her artistic language, Kejoo Park employs stone as a metaphor for nature's resilience throughout the Visible-Invisible series. Stones, existing since long before humanity, symbolize nature's enduring presence amidst human impermanence. Conversely, trees signify growth and transition. 

Within the Visible-Invisible series, Park presents three Homage to Beuys and six Loci paintings. They are titled with Latin words that pay homage to Beuys: "Homage" from Homage of Beuys and “Loci" from Loci, translating to "homage" as reverence and "loci" as a place or locality. Demonstrating respect for space and in-situ context, Park offers a unique interpretation of encountering Beuys’s installations in New York, crossing boundaries between art and architecture.

Integrating accumulated architectural techniques in making art, Park structures the art from conception to completion: spatial observation, systematic research, and digital rendering. Despite this constructed approach, Park embraces duality, distorting grids, and challenging perspectives to seek a balance between structured intention and organic freedom in her compositions. 

Created in conjunction, Kejoo Park suspends site-specific sculptural installations made of stone and oak trees from the gallery ceiling. In one corner of the gallery, she exhibits a few pieces from her private collection of Joseph Beuys's photographs and prints as homage. These works are on view only during the exhibition period to deliver an immersive experience to the audience.


Through Echoes in Time, Kejoo Park showcases a comprehensive overview of her multidisciplinary artistic practice, foundational principles of harmony, and sources of inspiration drawn from insightful channels in everyday life. Human life is part of a cycle in nature where one discovers, grows, sustains, and withers in time. Park's universe structures philosophical thoughts in various forms of art, and she announces her intention to continue her explorations in the transient wild of Earth.

SELECTED IMAGES

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Kejoo Park (B.1956, Daejeon, Korea) lives and works in Frankfurt, Zurich, and New York. She earned a BFA in Painting from Pratt Institute and Cornell University, studied at The Art Students League of New York, and earned an MLA in Landscape Architecture from Harvard University.

 

As a Korean-American conceptual and multimedia artist, Kejoo Park works with various media, including painting, sculpture, performance, and site-specific installations. Her art explores the complex relationships between humanity and nature, emphasizing the dualism of internal and external existence and the interplay between natural and artificial elements. In her large-scale public art projects, she merges diverse genres such as music, poetry, and philosophy. Developing her unique artistic language, she combines techniques learned from art and architectural studies and expands her artistic practices to express the embodiment of Western and Eastern culture.

 

As a landscape architect, she has worked with architectural pioneers including Peter Walker, I.M. Pei, and Mario Campi, conducting international competitions and projects worldwide. She also served as an Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture and Ecology at the University of Stuttgart in Germany.

 

Her work has been exhibited at Gallery Reitz, Zurich, Switzerland (2024); Gallery Uhn, Königstein, Germany (2023); Galerie Anna 25, Berlin, Germany (2023); Kunstverein Familie Montez, Frankfurt, Germany (2022); Galerie Uhn, Königstein, Germany (2022); Galerie Rieder, München, Germany (2021); Galerie Anna 25, Berlin, Germany (2019); Galerie Rieder, München, Germany (2019); Galerie Artstation, Zürich, Switzerland (2018); Galerie Hübner & Hübner, Frankfurt, Germany (2018); Galerie Rieder, München, Germany (2017); Galerie am Hirschengraben, Zurich, Switzerland (2017); Stadtgalerie, Bad Soden am Taunus, Germany (2017); Galerie Anna 25, Berlin, Germany (2016); Galerie Tuttiart, Luzern, Switzerland (2016); Galerie Hübner & Hübner, Frankfurt, Germany (2015); the Permanent Collection of Pierre Soulages at the Museum Ludwig, Koblenz, Germany (2014).

INSTALLATION VIEWS 

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