“I wanted to give these books a new life” – Jukhee Kwon

Artist Jukhee Kwon talks to Young Leaders at The October Gallery

Artist Jukhee Kwon talks to Young Leaders at The October Gallery

“I wanted to give these books a new life” – Jukhee Kwon

10/12/13

By Sally Herd

The Young Leaders at Asia House shared a fascinating evening with South Korean artist Jukhee Kwon and enjoyed a private view of her work at Bloomsbury’s October Gallery.

Asia House Young Leaders discussed energy, life and freedom with the artist.

Kwon is presenting a solo exhibition of her new works at the October Gallery until 1 February 2014.

“Basically I destroy books, and I cut the pages line by line.” Kwon said, explaining how she makes her sculptures.

However her art is far more than shredded books. “Its not just normal paper; it has a special energy,” she said. “Through destruction, the books have been changed, they have been transformed. They have been given a new meaning,” she said.

Walking through the gallery, Kwon continually referred back to the theme of energy. “The books are not just paper, they contain the energy of the person who used to own it,” she explained. “Whenever I touch a book, I feel like I’m actually meeting the person who used to own it. For me it’s changing the energy,” she said.

Kwon seeks to give new life to the discarded books. Her work Vita in the shape of a bird’s nest was made from a second-hand copy of Vittorio Alfieri’s autobiography. She said she gave the book a new life.  “It’s a constant circle of life,” she said. “In these books I see death. So I wanted to give these books a new life. Personally, I really gave this book too much love,” she joked.

Freedom is another important theme to Kwon’s work. “The more I handled the book, the more I cut it, I received something. It’s as if the book was saying ‘please free me’.”

She discussed how she feels like a messenger, enabling the book to visualise what it has been hiding inside. “When I open the book, it’s a great freedom; I feel like I free myself, I feel like the paper is coming out to the world. I guess I wish to be quite free.”

The Asia House Young Leaders Programme has been created for individuals aged 21-40 to bring together the next generation of individuals who will take forward the relationship between Europe and Asia. For more information click here