Split Series by Shinkyu Shon

Split Series by Shinkyu Shon is an artistic expression of the Eastern and Western cultures, by utilizing two different materials: split pine logs and stainless steel. The latter symbolizes modern western materials, while pine trees were usually used as the main pillar of traditional Korean houses.

Shinkyu Shon: In Split Series, I wanted to talk about Korea and visually express what people in the world want to understand and empathize with, not just those who live in Korea, so I approached the special historical context of Korea. In this series, I use two different materials such as wood and stainless mirror. The reason for using them is just not simply to acquire aesthetic beauty but to fuse distinctive features of each material. The wood used in these pieces was from a pine tree which was actually the main pillar of a Korean traditional house (Hanok) and it represents the natural beauty of Korea. The other material, Mirror Stainless, expresses the Western beauty of being straightforward and manmade.

Shinkyu Shon: We had cherished our own distinctive and gorgeous Korean beauty until Chosun dynasty. However, through the period of unstable Japanese colonial era, radial Western influences were prevalent and thus, there have been some occasions lacking in the balance of cultural aspects. In Japan’s case, they had sufficient time to blend Western culture so that they could keep their identity and accept the new Western design, thereby going on a complementary development. Yet, we have tried to understand modern Korean people and the traditional Korean design by drawing the traditional beauty of the past. Those two materials of wood and stainless steel, which were not tangible as separate entities, can be expressed as one beautiful aesthetic quality by conflicting and dividing. Unlike the wood of this work, stainless steel is mass production, uniform in number, and because it is one of the materials found by modern industrialization, it represents the western culture in this series. To maximize it, I emphasized one of the metallic features, reflectivity, and the horizontal verticality of the molding.

Interview with Shinkyu Shon | Photography 조늘해