Sculptor reconnects past and present through reimagined world of Shakespeare, heavenly paradise

Park Ki-woong’s “Hamlet 2020-24” (2020) is on view as part of his new solo exhibition at the Gallery LaON in central Seoul. Courtesy of the artist

By Park Han-sol

The greatest scene of William Shakespeare’s tragedy and comedy was reborn in the reflective stainless steel wonders of sculptor painter Park Giun.

A new solo exhibition at Park at Laon Gallery in central Seoul provides insights into his latest series, Shakespeare and Tonotenasera, and exhibits about 15 works.

“In my work, I wanted to go beyond the mere pursuit of aesthetic expression to express a specific timeless message that is consistent with today’s reality,” he said in a recent email interview with The Korea Times.

Sculptor and painter Park Ki-woong / Courtesy of the artist

Park found such a message in a play dreamed of by the most famous British playwright in history.

In his “Shakespeare” series, the artist transformed a five-act playwright’s play into a triptych or relief-all stainless steel reflective surfaces, focusing on selected iconic scenes. Expand with.
One of his sculptures, Hamlet 2020-24, depicts the tragic killing of King Hamlet by the hands of his younger brother Claudius, who listened to a potion of poison.

“When viewers encounter the work, they see their reflections superimposed on such recognizable scenes from classical theater … the past and present intersect and continue the dialogue,” Park said.
Another series on display is the term “TONOTENACELA” coined by the artist to refer to “the paradise of lost heaven”.
The center of the circular canvas, a pattern inspired by the planets of the solar system, contains a series of stainless steel sculptures drawn from space-related legends, myths, and cultural images.

Park Ki-woong’s “TONOTENACELA 2022-303: Blue Planet (Earth) Adam & Eve” (2022) / Courtesy of the artist

The sky we see today is not much different from the sky we saw thousands of years ago, but modern urbanization is a dull landscape that can no longer capture people’s curiosity and imagination, he Said.

“The myriad legendary heavenly stories born of the imagination of our ancestors no longer exist in the hearts of today’s people. I wanted to remind them again.”

As a result, the series depicts each planet enveloping past fiction and images of reality-the birth of the Birth of Venus in Sandro Botticelli, the biblical story of Adam and Eve, and the two lovers under the moon.
Both series visualize the artist’s interest in investigating how to understand the present through the windows of the past.

But, of course, these two do not mark the end of the 64-year-old creative discovery journey. The
artists will continue to develop the Shakespeare and Tonotenasera series, but the new Time & Speed ​​series has already begun to put another idea into practice-the ones with vitality are the limits of time and space.

“My goal is to continually look for new works that can visualize the timeless and universal questions of mankind,” the artist said. The

“Ki-Woong Park” exhibition will be held at Laon Gallery until August 15th.


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