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Hyun Ae Kang

Hyun Ae Kang was born in 1959 in South Chungcheong Province, Korea.Despite the rapid industrialization South Korea underwent in the 60s and 70s, the rural farming village that Kang spent her childhood in remained largely untouched by modernization, and she grew up with a deep appreciation of the natural beauty of the mountains and the seas that would become a through line for her art. Kang moved to Seoul in 1981 where she received both her BFA and MFA in sculpture from the prestigious Ewha Womans University.

In addition to sculpture, Kang also studied painting, drawing, print-making, and traditional Korean ceramics at Ewha Womans University. Kang’s career as an artist began in the early 1990s. Her first solo exhibition was in 1991 at the Gallery Hyundai in Seoul, the oldest and most revered contemporary art gallery in South Korea. Her sculptures were also included in a 1993 exhibition at the Art Museum of Soul in 1993 and the 1995 Korea Fine Art Grand Exhibition. She also taught as an instructor at the Hanyang Women’s College during this time.

The dominant theme of the works from this early period is the tension between geometric modernism and organic abstraction. Kang explores the interplay between the theoretical and the natural through elements of sculpture. Pure geometric shapes, such as the sphere or cube, unfurl into amorphous forms whose irregularity evokes a sense of the primordial. Similarly, the uncanny smoothness of polished stone or bronze is disrupted by craggy patches resembling biomatter. Even Kang’s choice in mediums is an interrogation of the two seemingly oppositional concepts; by juxtaposing burnished bronze with grainy wood or translucent marble with impenetrable obsidian, Kang embraces material alterity to achieve visual harmony.

Related Exhibitions

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