New Work: Soojin Kang

11 June - 20 July 2018
Installation Views
Press release

Kang’s practice centres around the examination of historic artisanship, expanding on the material possibilities of traditional weaving techniques in order to explore their painterly and sculptural potential. 

Three interconnected bodies of work are installed over two floors of the gallery. On the lower floor, two hand-carved wooden frames are laced with strands of raw silk, simple line drawings that express the unique characteristics of each bare thread. Elsewhere, sculptures employ undulating wire armatures around which further silk is wound in varying degrees of tension, binding to form a fibrous skin over bowed skeletal structures. 

In the upstairs gallery, Kang has placed two large panels, flowing from ceiling to floor. These works hang heavily from wooden beams, the face of each gently cascading loose strands of material to the floor that collects in hair-like, overlapping coils. 

These works embody a departure from the traditional, linear process of conventional weaving techniques. Rather than simply employing a continuous back and forth motion across a rigid grid, Kang works on specific areas of her sculptures in isolation, allowing for various branches of the composition to evolve separately. In turn, this introduces spontaneity back into an otherwise pre-determined formal approach, as Kang seeks to respond to her self-induced catalysts, allowing the mastery of her material to be tested in new, ultimately expressive ways. As such, she allows the thread to hang loosely in places, or ride up against itself in waves, encouraging the formation of painterly gestures, variations in tension and tonal patterns. 

Kang's sculptures appear rendered at a tipping point somewhere before final resolution, caught in a temporal stasis between becoming and deconstructing; in one moment resembling cocoons, seed pods or hair and, in another, something more skeletal, excavated, archaic. They inhabit the gallery as both growing, organic objects and fossilised relics, their purpose and place unclear, but the beauty of their forms undeniable. 

Soojin Kang (born 1978, Seoul, Korea) lives and works in London. She graduated from Central St. Martins in 2009 and has exhibited at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, the Texture Museum in Kortrijk and Unit 9 in London. Her work is in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.