Black Mat Oriole, 2017

Basel 2019
Kukje Gallery / Tina Kim Gallery
Mixed Media
painted steel, plastic wheel, steel bolt, thread; 3-channel video with sound; 8’46”; dimensions variable
Black Mat Oriole (2017) is a multi-media installation based on 5 years of research. The work comprises sculpture, painting, video, and performance intended to engage the viewer through the power and politics of movement within physical space. Suki Seokyeong Kang grounds her practice in an analysis of contemporary society through the lens of classical Korean poetry, craft, and dance, specifically chunaengmu, a solo dance on a square mat traditionally performed for the Korean aristocracy. The dance requires adherence to a strict code of court etiquette that reflects social strata through physical space. Grounding the work in the present, Black Mat Oriole uses diverse mediums to call attention to the invisible social parameters through which we carefully navigate in our daily lives. This notion of a gridded interactive social nexus refers also to a dominant theme of Kang’s previous works: jeongganbo, a traditional Korean music notation system that can be broken down into squares denoting a complex combination of tone, duration, lyrics, and movement. In previous works, Kang has used the jeongganbo system to present a layered exploration and expansion of the methodology of painting. In Black Mat Oriole, this same exploration is expanded to include cultural and social strata.