|Installation view of "Furniture" by Gwon O-sang and Kim Min-ki at Arario Museum in Space / Courtesy of Arario Museum|
By Kwon Mee-yoo
Furniture is a product of function and beauty. Two sculptors, Gwon O-sang and Kim Min-ki, have joined hands to create artistic furniture, which are currently on view at the Underground in Space, an exhibition hall in the Arario Museum in Space in central Seoul.
The exhibition is titled simply "Furniture," suggesting that the two have gone back to the basics with their concept of furniture.
Gwon is an internationally renowned artist for his iconic photo-sculptures and series such as "The Sculpture," "Relief" and "New Structure."
Kim is a sculptor and furniture designer.
This project began about two years ago when Gwon asked Kim to make furniture for his studio.
"At first, I thought of more conventional design similar to existing furniture such as a console table with luxurious legs and doors. As we discussed, it became more unique, with sculptural touches," Gwon said. "I used them as furniture as they are fully functional. But Kim prefers it to be appreciated like a sculpture."
The collaboration is done through a back and forth exchange of ideas and designs. Gwon provides excess materials from his work and Kim makes rough sketches using the plywood pieces. Then the early design goes through modifications as the two exchange opinions.
|"New Structure Chair 1" by Gwon O-sang and Kim Min-ki|
The first project they completed together was the "Green-colored Stool" series. Using leftover plywood pieces from Gwon's sculptures, Kim made stools and painted them green, scraping the edges to create an antique look.
The two sculptors' furniture is on the border between sculpture and furniture.
The centerpiece of the exhibit is "Ring Storage Rack." The X-shaped structure can operate as the origin of coordination in a cluttered workspace.
"Sculptors' rings are often damaged or cut due to their vocational characteristics. We made this to keep the precious jewelry safe," Kim said.
Partition screens have large holes in the middle, not fully functional for its original room dividing purpose, but its free form shows a possibility for new type of furniture.
"It leans toward formativeness than practicality in terms of furniture's function," Kim said.
|Detail of 'Stool 3' by Gwon O-sang and Kim Min-ki|
Other furniture pieces are designed for a sculptor's studio ― "Stepper Stool" as a ladder and "Tool Display Table" for storing and displaying sculptor's tools.
All works are original as they are made from birch plywood pieces used for Gwon's sculptural works.
"We didn't carve anything for this furniture project. All are coincidental shapes made from existing works," Gwon said. "If someone asks for us to make the exact same furniture piece, we can only offer a similar one from other leftover plywood."
Chung Hyun, architecture professor at the University of Seoul, said their works are "occupied with extremes and ambiguities."
"On one side there is a chair that is befitting to be called a piece of furniture, and on the other side, there is a room divider that almost looks like a sculpture of Osang Gwon. Between these two extremities, there is a bricolage that doesn't look like it should be called a piece of furniture. ... the furniture created in a system where Gwon's past and Kim's present crisscross, achieve a style that is hard to associate with contemporary types of art furniture that accentuates simple geometries and material characteristics," Chung said.
The exhibit runs through Dec. 8. For more information, visit www.arariomuseum.org.
|Sculptors Gwon O-sang, left, and Kim Min-ki|