Walking into Korean artist Jeongmoon Choi’s studio before her upcoming show at re:MMX I am surrounded by large canvases and an array of multi-coloured threads. The studio is spacious but there is no natural light because the windows have been blacked out – you can’t exactly work on light installations on a sunny day. Jeongmoon produces artworks that require black lights – so it is perfect to meet her in her natural artistic setting – in the dark! Nevertheless the atmosphere is still warm, and we sit down to talk about her exciting upcoming show over some Earl Grey tea.
BAPS: Tell us about your piece which is going to be opening at re:MMX, “lines up. a recollection.”
JC: It’s like a pyramid, a tent or a spiderweb – one passer-by on the street when I was creating the work even said, “Wow, you are Spider woman!” because I was there with my string creating this “web.” The idea is also partly based on housing because the space at Lininenstrasse may be converted into a new house next year and it got me thinking about the whole Berlin housing situation – it’s very interesting and has changed so fast, almost all the buildings have been changed. I needed a permanent space for my exhibition just as people need a permanent base to sleep and live in.
BAPS: Usually your work is indoors, was it a challenge to work outside?
JC: Yes I usually see myself as an artist who works indoors, but when the curator at re:MMX and asked me to do an outdoor installation I thought it was such an interesting offer I accepted; and started to explore outside. Usually I work under a roof and in this case didn’t have one, so I created my own.
BAPS: Your work reminds us of that of Louise Bourgeois , have you been compared to her before?
JC: No not really, I like her work but I don’t think it’s very similar. I have been compared to Fred Sandback though – he works with thread and string and is very minimal. He draws the space like a sculptor but I draw within the space.
BAPS: What was the main inspiration for your 3D pieces?
JC: Originally I told everyone that I was a drawer – I like free hand drawing. When I was young I was a painter and did a lot of landscapes on a large scale, sometimes up to 7 meters long and my wish was that I could walk around in my work. Then I thought, why not, I can draw in space!
BAPS: So how did you go on to develop your technique of “Space Drawing”?
JC: I started with a line, a dot with string or pen or ink. Then when I wanted to draw in 3D I discovered thread. I liked the way it could be thin or thick, and a range of colors; I was really happy when I found this material! I started only with string for my drawing and then I thought about how I wanted to change the identity of the rooms I was working with and had the idea to make the room dark and use lasers. You can release the character of the room because it’s dark and you can only see the lines created.
BAPS: Has moving from Korea to Germany had an impact on your work?
JC: I originally moved to Kassel to study art, I had studied art in Korea too but only painting which is very traditional. I had no chance to experiment with other materials there but then when I moved my work changed from 2D to 3D and I had more chance to explore different mediums. I developed different techniques to really find out what was “me.” Moving to Berlin from Kassel was an obvious choice because I am originally from Seoul which is a big metropolitan city, and Kassel is very small. In Berlin there are more possibilities.
BAPS: What are your plans for future work after your upcoming show at re:MMX?
JC: I have an upcoming solo show in Paris starting from November 10th 2012 at Galerie Laurent Mueller. There will be a large black light installation and a video taken with a time lapse camera showing footage of me creating my piece at MMX to introduce my work. I will also include some small drawings on paper and some canvas work. After that I will be exhibiting at Slick art fair in Paris from 17th November 2012, before planning for a group exhibition in Berlin next January at Galerie Weisser Elefant.
Jeongmoon in the middle of her light installation. Photo: Courtesy of the Artist
So don’t keep your head in the dark! To experience Jeongmoon Choi’s beautiful works head down to re:MMX on Friday October 12th 2012 for the unveiling of her latest piece.
re:MMX “lines up. a recollection” Jeongmoon Choi – Opening October 12th 2012, 7pm-11pm. Lit-up everynight after the opening until 10pm.
Article and interview by Marie J Burrows