Jukhee Kwon Revives Abandoned Books in Elaborate Paper Sculptures and Installations
April 3, 2023
In elaborate sculptures that range from a few inches to several feet, South Korean artist Jukhee Kwon explores the duality of destruction and recreation to give new life to abandoned books. Painstakingly manipulating old tomes by hand, she constructs intricate tendrils and chains of paper still attached to the spines, cutting between the lines so that the text remains legible and merges into new narratives.
Currently based in Italy, Kwon finds books published in Italian like Guerra e Pace—or War and Peace—to provide the starting point for her work. In others, the title of the book is obscured completely by loops and curls of paper. The artist repetitively twists, ruffles, weaves, or links the pages, creating a variety of meshes and draping forms that cascade from the binding and vary greatly from one piece to the next. In “Meditation,” she incorporates the craft tradition of jong-i jeobi, the Korean word for origami, and the original marker ribbon provides a focal point in “Red Circle Book.”
Kwon suggests there are numerous ways to comprehend what we see. A flower could also be a medallion; a series of curtain-like columns mimics waterfalls; and woven webs form baskets or provide the shelter of nests. Paralleling the way great writing contains multiple layers of meaning, the artist is interested in exploring different interpretations, visualizing how thoughts and experiences metaphorically unfurl and blossom.
If you’re in London, you can explore Kwon’s solo exhibition Liberated at October Gallery through April 22, and follow her on Instagram for updates.
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