Breathe: Sangsik Hong
BLANK SPACE is pleased to present an exhibition of new works by Sangsik Hong, a South Korean artist known for using plastic straws to create anatomical relief sculptures. The exhibition presents the use of everyday mass produced material to portray subjects of desire and power. Breathe will be the artist’s first solo show in New York, and will continue from June 14 through July 29, with an opening reception on Thursday, June 14, 6pm to 8pm.
Sangsik Hong forms shapes by raising the surface of stacked plastic straws at different levels. The hollowness of each straw distributes light reflected from the painted back panel into segmented spaces, creating shadows and movement that manipulates the way the viewer perceives three-dimensionality. As the viewer walks around the relief sculpture, one can notice that the perceived lines are solely created from the light and shadows accentuated by the edges of the straws.
Hong creates images that can be defined as symbols of desire- lips, chairs, high heels, nude women, and flowers. These subjects represent power many desire but is possessed only by a few, and in contrast to the nature of the ordinary, replaceable, and easily obtainable plastic straw material, they present a visual paradox the artist endeavors. The subtleties with which the shapes are created embody the artist’s subconscious intention and voyeuristic interests.
In this exhibition, Hong heightens the stereoscopic element through the use of light. LED lights are incorporated on the back panel allowing the translucent plastic material to not only reflect light from the viewer’s space, but also emit light from within the artwork. Hong first developed his artistic technique during South Korea’s IMF economic crisis in 1997, when he turned to his childhood games, and began to push out different shapes from a pile of noodles that were commonly eaten during the recession. One of his early works in noodles will also be included in the show.
Sangsik Hong received his MFA in Sculpture at Mokwon University in Korea, and is a member of The Korean Figurative Sculpture Association, Korean Relief Association, Mokwon Sculpture Association and Daejeon Sculptor Association. Hong's works have been exhibited widely in Singapore, Switzerland, New York, and London.