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Kwon Young Sung’s ‘Relational graph’: Searching for relational terms of objects in their surrounding

Kwon Young Sung is very talented in simplifying a complicated world into symbols of objects. The artist searches for categories or common patterns of objects under complications. He has been producing a unique, visual amusement by organizing stories of those objects in a specific location context. His hypothetical maps - filled with fictional names of places - sometimes cause anamorphic illusion.

Although his recent work of graphs is an extension of his previous map work, it is interesting that he is looking for relational terms inside the maps. It sticks out more as he has adopted ‘graphs’ to set up the relational terms between different objects and to show patterns of the surrounded worlds. On purpose or not, it seems that he explores repetitive patterns in cities; His series of buildings in cities, bricks, and causeways make standardized stones of causeways and patterns of stream flow actually look like they have constant tunes and beats.

For example, <Relational graph between rural and urban areas> is a remindful image of apartments, streams, and mountains along the Daejeon Rivers. Shapes of buildings are schematized with bright and vivid colored bar graphs. Also, other bars are making blocks as indicating high and low buildings. Bar graphs – apartment complex - are on the center and there are causeways in below. Same sized and shaped stones and trigonal forms patterning waves of rivers are symmetrical to the trigonal forms of mountains on the right top of the painting. At a glance, he has arranged the city scenery as digitized, quantificational, statistical, and distributional maps. It is not a sensuous reproduction but a very ideological recognition about objects, rather closed to mathematics.

Before questioning whether that his work is a painting or a graph that frigidly excludes emotions but reflects mathematic recognition, let’s look at his other work <Relational graph among drain pipes, gas pipes and windows>. It appears that he sees things very keenly in his life, so he closely observes the shapes of gas pipes outside of the buildings and the arrangement of drain pipes and windows. He schematized relational terms of drain pipes, gas pipes and windows into terms of a graph and then painted them as a blueprint. The outcome looks very similar to an image of an electronic circuit. As he painted it after he received some suggestions from a mathematician, we can say that the graphs are professional. However, schematizing gas pipes and drain pipes into graphs can be seen as exceeding an artistic expression. It encourage us to ‘recognize’ how the outside of buildings is arranged and settled.

In other words, a graph is not only for statics and numbers, but the artist was attracted to ‘relational terms’ of pipes that were like ‘blood vessels’ of buildings in the city. In fact, the artist confessed that he realized the original meaning of a graph was ‘relationship’ from this blending of science and art. Trying to understand the relationship between objects is the reason why we need two or more relational terms for a graph.

From the process of using graphs, the artist emphasizes on the importance of relational terms and tries to look at the entire scenery in a relational context. The scenery expressed by the graphs doesn’t just stay in relations to the buildings and structures, but it also reflects repetitive patterns and mechanism that are forced to exist in a social order, as well as in nature.

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