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Sculptor Hong Jung-pyo covers messy reality in pursuit of perfection

By Park Yuna

Published : March 10, 2024 - 19:00

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"Loading in 9 times (Hidden Edge #33)" by Hong Jung-pyo (Courtesy of G Gallery)

In architecture, molding is used to cover transitions between surfaces to smooth rough sections, and comes in various materials such as wood, stone or cement. Korean sculptor Hong Jung-pyo’s “Hidden Edge” series, which he began in 2003, draws inspiration from the architectural element of molding.

The 48-year-old artist, who delved into sculpture after graduating from Hongik University, has unveiled new works created out of wood or steel molding at the exhibition “Different Feelings” at G Gallery in southern Seoul.

It has been “perfection” that the artist has agonized over as a sculptor, Hong said, and his new works at the exhibition show this painstaking process.

Hanging from the ceiling, the work “Hidden Edge #34” consists of molding. The title of the work reflects the artist’s intention in creating the work: he covers messy edges with molding, thereby constructing smooth surfaces.

An installation view of An installation view of "Different Feelings" at G Gallery (Courtesy of the gallery)

Hong said on Wednesday that the installation “Loading in 9 times (Hidden Edge #33)” -- a series of structures made with aluminum molding placed on a table -- can be seen as the beginning of his solo exhibition at G Gallery. What inspired him to create the installation is the film “Groundhog Day,” which is based on the theme of the same day repeating.

“The movie made me wonder, ‘What if the same day were to repeat to an artist? Would I be able to create a better work on the next day?’” the artist said during a press event on the same day.

Since he cannot literally repeat the same day, Hong opted instead to replicate his daily routine.

“So I began to head to my studio every day repeatedly at 9 a.m., creating works until 2 p.m. I used the same materials -- repeating the same routine -- expecting to see if my work would become better on the next day,” he said.

“One day I came to think, 'If I repeat the routine for a better work, does that mean that I am failing every day?' I realized there is no such thing as ‘perfect work,'" the artist said.

The exhibition runs through April 6 at G Gallery in Gangnam-gu, southern Seoul.