Where do Koreans live in Philadelphia

Kwang Young Chun

life and work

© Beck & Eggeling

Kwang Young Chun is considered a contemporary master in working with the material paper and is recognized worldwide through his installations and three-dimensional reliefs. Chun meticulously creates striking surface structures by wrapping hundreds of hand-cut styrofoam triangles in labeled Korean tissue paper, the so-called »mulberry paper«, exploring them on the surface and fixing them. This creates three-dimensional wall works with sculptural potential.

The tissue paper, which the artist takes from old books and magazines, retains its Korean character due to the always visible characters and is also often colored by the natural colors of fruits, flowers, earth or tea. These amazing creations melt together in waves of color, swell in front of the eye of the beholder and then again and again evoke through their surface structures associations with aerial images of natural phenomena - such as wavy fields of flowers, desert and crater landscapes or scarred lunar landscapes.

Finely and accurately modeled, Chun's works are the result of the greatest care and extreme precision. The viewer has the opportunity to experience the self-contained balance and unmistakable calm that is inherent in Chun's work.

Reduced to the simplest of materials, the artist expresses aspects of human existence in his universal and contemporary imagery, while at the same time a specifically Korean sense of culture and tradition speaks from his work. This ability to communicate with an individual imagery and at the same time to be aware of his South Korean origins ultimately marks the decisive moment in Chun's international career, which began in 1995 as a result of childhood memories. The memory of his uncle, a practicing doctor, who hung his medicinal herbs, wrapped in tissue paper, tightly together from the ceiling, led Chun to use this traditional tissue paper, which can be found in every household, as an artistic material for his work use.

Kwang Young Chun was born in Hongcheon, South Korea, in 1944 and studied at the B.F.A., Hong-Ik University, Korea, and the Philadelphia College of Art, Philadelphia. He lives and works in Boondang-gu, South Korea. His works are represented in well-known public collections such as Rockefeller Foundation, New York, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, Woodrow Wilson International Center in Washington DC, United Nations in New York, National Museum of Contemporary Art in Seoul, Seoul Museum of Art , National Gallery of Australia in Canberra and the Busan Metropolitan Art Museum.


1944born in Hongcheon, South Korea, KR
1968B.F.A., Hong-Ik University, Korea, KR
1971M.F.A., Philadelphia College of Art, Philadelphia, US
lives and works in Bundang-gu, South Korea, KR

Prizes and awards

2009Presidential Prize of the 41st Korean Art and Culture Prize, The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Seoul, KR
2001Chun Kwang Young - Artist of the Year 2001, National Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, KR
1974Silver Prize at the 27th Cheltenham Art Center Exhibition, Cheltenham Art Center, Cheltenham, US
1973Earth Art II Special Award, Civic Center Museum, Philadelphia, US
1969Special Prize of the 18th Korean National Arts Exhibition, Korean Culture and Arts Foundation, Seoul, KR
1968Special Prize of the 6th Shin Sang Group Exhibition, National Museum of Modern Art, Seoul, KR
1967Special Prize of the Korean Contemporary Artist’s Invited Exhibition, National Museum of Modern Art, Seoul, KR
Special Prize of the 5th Shin Sang Group Exhibition, National Museum of Modern Art, Seoul, KR

Works (selection)

Solo exhibitions (selection)

2018Chun Kwang Young Solo Show, Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, US
Chun Kwang Young WORKS 1975-2018, PKM Gallery, Seoul, KR
Chun Kwang Young - Aggregation, Sundaram Tagore Gallery, New York, US
2017Chun Kwang Young - Chaotic Harmony II, Museum de Reede, Antwerp, BE
Chun Kwang Young, Pearl Lam Galleries, Hong Kong, CN
Beck & Eggeling, International Fine Art, Vienna, AT
Chun Kwang Young, Boghossian Foundation, Brussels, BE
2016Chun Kwang Young - A Retrospective, Woo Yang Museum, Gyeongju, KR
2015Mulberry Mindscapes, Beck & Eggeling International Fine Art, Düsseldorf, DE
Aggregation, Pearl Lam Gallery, Singapore, SG
Edinburgh Festival, Dovecot Studios, Edinburgh
2014Bernard Jacobson Gallery, London
Kwang Young Chun, Hasted Kraeutler Gallery, New York, US
2013Chun Kwang Young - Assemblage, Art Plural Gallery, Singapore, SG
Museum of Seoul National University, Seoul, KR
2012Hasted Kraeutler Gallery, New York, US
Towson University Asian Art Center, Maryland, US
Lynchburg College Daura Gallery, Virginia, US
2011Knoxville Museum of Art, Tennessee, US
Gallery Hyundai, Seoul, KR
Conny Dietzschold Gallery, Sydney, AU
2009Mori Arts Center Gallery, Tokyo, JP
University of Wyoming Art Museum, Laramie, Wyoming, US
Singapore Tyler Print Institute, Singapore, SG
2008The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, US
Robert Miller Gallery, New York, US
2006Singapore Tyler Print Institute, Singapore, SG
2002Columbus Museum, Columbus, US
20012001 The Artist of this year, The National Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, KR
2000Comemenoz Gallery, Key Biscayne, US
1999Park Ryu-Sook Gallery, Seoul, KR
1997Gallery Bhak, Seoul, KR
1992Gallery Hyundai, Seoul, KR
1986Sirota Gallery, Tokyo, JP
1980American Cultural Center Gallery, Seoul, KR
1979Lotus Gallery, New York, US
1972Holly Solomon Gallery, New York, US
1968Seoul Cultural Center Gallery, Seoul, KR

Group exhibitions (selection)

2016Structures of recollection: Contemporary approaches to materials & memory, Pearl Lam Galleries, Hong Kong, CN
201556th Venice Biennale, Museo di Palazzo Grimani, Venice, IT
San Museum, Wonju, KR
Spalding house: LESS = MORE, Honolulu Museum of Art, Honolulu, US
2014Odd Volumes: Book Art from the Allan Chasanoff Collection, Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, US
2013We Awe - Contemporary Art from Korea, How Art Museum, Wenzhou, CN
2012Design Futurology, Museum of Art Seoul National University, Seoul, KR
Museum KUNSTWERK - Collection Alison and Peter W. Klein, Eberdingen-Nussdorf, DE
2011Impression Gallery, Taipei, CN
2010I am the Cosmos, New Jersey State Museum, New Jersey, US
Aldrich Undercover 2010, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, US
2009Conny Dietzschold Gallery, Sydney, AU
Urban Archeology, Kim Foster Gallery, New York, US
2008Midnight Full of Stars, Visual Art Center, New Jersey, US
Undercover Project, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, US
2007Addicted to Paper, Galerie Lelong, Zurich, CH
2006Holland Paper Biennial, CODA Museum, Apeldoorn, NL
2005Seoul Art Exhibition, Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul, KR
2004The Art Scene in New York, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, New York, US
2003Crossings 2003 - Korea / Hawaii, The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu, US
2001Compelled, Hunterdon Museum of Art, New Jersey, US
2000San Francisco Art Exhibition, Park Ryu-Sook Gallery, San Francesco, US
Gwenda Jay / Addington Gallery, Chicago, US
1998Crossing Boundaries, Gallery V, Columbus, US
1996Anthology of Contemporary Painting Artists, Da Do Gallery, Seoul
1995Exhibition of Paper - Korea and Japan Contemporary Artists, Chong Ro Gallery, Seoul
1985ISPPA, Walker Hill Museum, Seoul
1982Korea Today’s Artists Exhibition, Kwang Hoon Gallery, Seoul
1977The Invited Show 2 Contemporary Artists, Fifth St. Gallery, Wilmington, US
1975Woodmere Art Museum, Philadelphia, US
1973Earth Art Modern, Philadelphia Civic Center Museum, Philadelphia, US
1966The Shin Sang Group Show, National Museum of Modern Art, Seoul



BE Highlights 2020

  • Artists: Magdalena Abakanowicz, Aljoscha, Herbert Beck, Gehard Demetz, Bertozzi & Casoni, Joachim Brohm, Marc Chagall, Kwang Young Chun, Lucien Clergue, Piero Dorazio, Gerhard Hoehme, Anselm Kiefer, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Heinz Mack, August Macke, Fausto Melotti, Giorgio Morandi, Edvard Munch, Emil Nolde, Heribert C. Ottersbach, Pablo Picasso, Fabrizio Plessi, Rudolf Polanszky, Chris Reinecke, Gerhard Richter, Norbert Tadeusz, Manolo Valdés
    Editors: Michael Beck, Ute Eggeling
    Text: Aljoscha, Michael Beck, Jil Campisi, Ute Eggeling, Andrea Knop, Andrea Krause, Kirsten Nordahl, Katja Ott, Heribert C. Ottersbach, Sebastian Schemann, Miriam Walgate
    Design: Antonia Eggeling
  • German English
    Softcover, 25 x 21 cm
    120 pages, 92 illustrations
  • Beck & Eggeling Kunstverlag, 2020
    ISBN 978-3-94606324-7
  • 20 €
Further publications