The Cluster Gallery is pleased to present Sung-Ah Jun: “Fragmented Whole” featuring two bodies of work developed concurrently around themes of humanity, accumulation and time.
The first series of large scale works on paper and canvas chronicles humanity through the layering of images from art history and the internet. Jun’s images take the form of figures defined by a geometric framework, often drawn from Greek statuary and nineteenth century painting.
Embedded in the geometry are the figures of historic paintings, fractured limbs and details in a frenzied state of anguish and rapture. Jun’s conflation of emotions into circles and angles implies both mechanical and planetary configurations. The combination of male and female characteristics appears to invest the beings in her work with mythic status. Slightly larger than life size and isolated on unprimed canvas, they hover between our realm and their own, peering through internal turmoil and amalgamated anatomy. Their presence suggests intimate longing, wisdom and torment; perhaps an offspring of the digital age where all of history is filtered through personal online searches. Arresting and timeless, they come to embody the failings, triumphs and desires of the whole of humanity.
Jun’s second series consists of images of men transferred onto sheets of birch plywood. Again, larger than life, they stand regally adorned by a sculptural form that shifts between interpretive and anatomic associations. The form serves as an appendage, infusing the men with grace and introspective dignity. They look up and outward, possibly addressing the realm inhabited by Jun’s amalgamated figures in the accompanying series. Suggesting leaders, guides and guardians from long ago - or perhaps the future, their presence is both commanding and reflective.
In Jun’s bodies of work, the process is evident through marks and brushwork, and the layering of images into structural blocks and discs. Together the two series address strength, vulnerability and the embodiment of time through figures fixed in a moment – born of an emotional response to recent events and an incalculable past.
When I encounter strangers, I tend to become curious about their inner universe. By nature, humans are ironic beings who are impossible to decipher to the full extent. How can I truly understand someone when I can't even comprehend myself? In social media, digital posts of daily life become a selective disguise rather than a realistic representation. I almost hear silent roar of cyber inhabitants who are entangled in exhibitionism, voyeurism and deficiency. They become quick to judge through a few extremely manipulated facades on a screen.
A few years ago, I assembled paper sculptures to photograph as objects. My current series combines men with paper structures that serve as mutative elements. Each standard sized printing paper transfigures into various forms as atoms transform into diverse creatures. To challenge my skills, I fused analog and digital techniques such as painting, digital transferring and collaging images based on the photographs of figures.
It would be ridiculous to claim that any language, emotion, intuition, reason, judgment, cognition or moral conduct can fully explain humanity. The inadequacy is a driving force towards understanding the essence of humanity. I find pleasure in integrating my personal connections and others’ stories with my art. In the process of communicating with various kinds of people about their experience and beliefs, I give full play to my imagination.