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JongRye Cha

JongRye Cha, NAMPO Museum of Art


1968, Daejeon





Expose exposed160815, 2016

Stainless steel, Stone, 175 x 80 x 250cm

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Time Becomes Form

The most immediate and striking feature of her recent work is, indeed, its coherent use of cones. From a material point of view, the recent work of Cha Jong-Rye focuses on the dialectical relationship between wood and land, material and nature on the conic surface of her sculpture. She treats her material, wood, as a land for new life. There is a sense of poise and connectedness within the allotted spacing of the cones.  
They are convincing in terms of their placement. The grouping of cones in different height and size offers a poetic vision of the space. The finely fluted side of the wood seen in direct tension with its artificially carved conic appearance is strangely surreal.  
Why is the artist so into conic shape? According to the artist, “it is the first form to break through the flat surface and, at the same time, the last form that arrives at the sky.” The beginning of new life that springs from the land takes the conic form. It is also the form that mirrors insatiable human desires to conquer new realms.  Moreover, its aggressiveness and brutality are the symbol of reverence and wildness.  
Despite all the interpretation on the conic form in her art, the key word that penetrates her new series is “energy.” Her various feelings and thoughts for five years wake up in cadence with her hands’ movement generating energies for cones. To penetrate the surface of wood and to initiate changes in the static status of the material, Cha Jong-Rye’s conic form starts to charge its tip with tension full of energies. Like a ritual ceremony, her sculpture becomes a solemn site.  
Time is the most important element in Cha Jong-Rye’s sculpture. Therefore, her sense of sculpture is about a material process and a feminine sensibility that comes into reality as she moves through the material. Cha Jong-Rye’s elegant sculpture presents an erudite synthesis of time and labor. The methodological clarity of her carving technique is reminiscent of the pointillist technique of Post-Impressionist painting that generated a certain illusion. However, much of the tension in Cha Jong-Rae’s work comes from the untouched nature of the wooden elements that take on added significance when brought into a pristine gallery space.  
Subjected to close scrutiny, natural and accidental features become formalized: curvy lines and unruly skin of wood becomes texture and color of an art piece.  
For five years, Cha Jong-Rye has embarked on the surface of wood that can be construed as being an extension of her reverence for wood and nature. Although her technical capability might seem to slot her as a retro-academician, her conceptual clarity help to properly situates her within the context of environmentalism.  

Lee Dae-Hyung (Curator, Gallery Artside)