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Artist Hyun Chung holding a large-scale exhibition in the Saint-Cloud National Park (Domaine National de Saint Cloud), Paris, France

2016-12-19 l Hit 1203

Interview

Artist Hyun Chung holding a large-scale exhibition in the Saint-Cloud National Park (Domaine National de Saint Cloud), Paris, France

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Artist Hyun Chung posing in his studio ©Hyo-won Kim

Artist Hyun Chung is presenting a large-scale railroad sleeper sculpture exhibition ‘L’Homme Debout’ (from October 18th, 2016 to March 18th, 2017) in the Saint-Cloud National Park (Domaine National de Saint Cloud), Paris, France. It was exhibited at the Palais Royal garden (Jardin des Palais Royal) in Paris, France for about six months from this past March to this past September, and was moved to the park at the request for an encore exhibition.

The work consists of 48 sculptures, each at 2 meters tall, made of old railroad sleepers lined up. It creates a spectacular sight, since it blends in with the landscape of the park. Since the late 1990s, artist Hyun Chung has continuously made human-figure sculptures using railroad sleepers. They express the human body, but the human shape almost disappears and the abstract characteristics of a tree are emphasized in the sculptures. They resemble human beings who live in a struggling modern society.
 
 
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Exhibition view held at the Palais Royal Garden (Jardin des Palais Royal)
 
 
“The Palais Royal garden (Jardin des Palais Royal), where the exhibition concluded this past September, can be compared to Gyeongbok Palace in South Korea. It was the place where the French Revolution first started and is considered by the French people to be the heart of France. I was excited that I could exhibit my work in such a place, and felt good that the exhibition received positive responses from the locals.”

The exhibition was organized to commemorate the 130th anniversary of diplomatic relations between South Korea and France. It was originally planned for three months, but it was extended to six months because the exhibition was so well received. After that, it moved to the Saint-Cloud National Park (Domaine National de Saint Cloud) for an encore exhibition. Artist Hyun Chung’s work created a perfect harmony with the outdoor garden, so one of the locals responded saying, “his work looks natural in the garden just like it was there originally.”

France's famous newspapers such as, Le Monde and Le Parisien, introduced articles saying, "A better exhibition than exhibitions of world famous masters." After the French President Francois Hollande came and saw the exhibition, he was impressed by it and wanted to invite the artist to Elysee Palace.
 
 
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View of artist Hyun Chung’s exhibition in the Saint-Cloud National Park (Domaine National de Saint Cloud) in Paris. The exhibition will continue until March 18th next year.
 
 
“I thought about why my exhibition was well received. The French people suffered from terrorism and seem to be attracted by the energy that the material of old railroad sleepers provides. An old railroad sleeper is a piece of trivial material, abandoned after having endured the tremendous weight of the train: it has obtained enormous power and energy after severe trials. I work with sleepers because I like this characteristic and it seems to fit well with the emotions of the French people who have recently experienced terror. It seems to have conveyed a willingness to take and overcome any kind of hardship.”

Art critic Kim Won-bang commented on the exhibition by saying, "Hyun Chung's ‘L’Homme Debout’ is set in a historical monument in France, and attempts to communicate with European historical symbols accumulated over many years. ‘L’Homme Debout’ creates a meditative and timeless atmosphere in a posture that seems to gaze at the long history of the city. It is like ‘a milestone for thoughts’ that suddenly leads viewers to reflect on the past, present, and future of human civilization. In addition, the primal feelings of  ‘L’Homme Debout’ will contrast with the majestic beauty of the royal palace architecture and the modern urban environment filled with artifacts, which will lead to an imaginative response from viewers."

Written by Hyo-won Kim, a Journalist at Sportsseoul, eggroll88@hanmail.net
Photographed by artist Hyun Chung
2016. 12. 27 ⓒKorean Artist Project
Text and images may not be reproduced, reprinted, or redistributed without express consent.

Hyun Chung Profile
Born in Incheon in 1956, artist Hyun Chung earned his B.F.A. and M.F.A in the sculpture department of Hongik University and graduated the National School of Fine Arts (École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-arts) in Paris, France with a sculpture major. After the graduation, he has been actively working as an artist in Korea. 
He held solo exhibitions at the Today Art Museum in Beijing, the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA), the Kim Chong Yung Museum, the Kumho Museum of Art and many others, and participated in group exhibitions at the Seoul Olympic Museum of Art, the Pohang Museum of Steel Art, the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, and many more.
He also received many awards and some of them are listed as follows: the ‘Today’s Artist’ award from the Kim Chong Yung Museum, ‘Artist of the Year 2006’ award from the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA), the grand prize of the 1st Korean Art Critic Association Award, and Kim Se Joong sculpture awards.

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