Seon Ghi Bahk
May 8, 2016 10:27 am
Natural materials and man made objects
Korean artist Seon Ghi Bahk has created a series of installations using pieces of charcoal suspended by nylon threads in an exhibition which aims to examine the relationship between natural materials and man made objects
HE WANTED TO EXPRESS NATURE Itself, and the mountains, winds, and trees naturally came to him
Bahk was born in Seonsan, Gyeongsangbuk-do Province. His hometown was a very small hamlet of only a few households deep in the mountains. Everything around Bahk was nature itself, and the mountains, winds, and trees naturally came to him. Bahk took especial interest in trees and wind. He wanted to express nature, which he had seen most closely. After deeply considering what from nature he should use as subjects for his artwork, he started with trees because they felt more familiar and were easier to depict than mountains or winds, and he finally arrived at the material called charcoal. And yet, he has not given up the essence of trees, which can be seen intermittently in his later works. As if proving the theory of Claude Levi-Strauss, an eminent French anthropologist who argued that man cannot help but be influenced by the environment he or she was born into, Bahk has gradually built his theory on charcoal: he started verifying the reasons and meanings why generation of charcoal, that is, wood, became the primary motif for his work.
Entitled Fiction of the Fabricated Image
For his exhibit entitled Fiction of the Fabricated Image, Korean artist Seon Ghi Bahk has cleverly repurposed small pieces of charcoal into remarkable suspended installations that explore the often-complicated yet interdependent relationship between natural and man-made environments.
While the hundreds of palm-sized pieces of burnt wood in Bahk’s artwork are of the natural world, the shapes that they form – after he suspends them from the venue ceiling using nylon thread – smack of a human-made environment: pillars, columns, stairs, arches and pagodas.
Representational and the aspirational.
So what does a lump of coal have to do with a doric column? The artist’s work doesn’t invite this sort of literal parallel—rather, questions regarding our historic debt to nature are thrown up for the viewer to mull over like so many suspended particles. In the end, Bahk leaves viewers with work that perfectly dances the line between the representational and the aspirational.
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