Ran Hwang is best known for her large-scale wall installations with buttons, beads, pins, and threads on wood panels. We love her work and we would like to know more about the artist and her inspirations and what’s behind her creative works. In this exclusive interview with Ran Hwang, you can understand what is her art about.
How and why did you get into the art Industry? Where did you study, etc?
I am from an artistic background. When I was little, I grew up watching my dad made oriental paintings as his hobby. So I was familiar with paintings and art. I knew this would suit to my personality and continued doing it.
My major was originally fine arts both in college and grad school. I studied fine arts in Korea and New York. However I worked at a fashion embroidery company for a living in New York. This was a start to observe tiny fashion materials. With the intimate interest and observation, I went through a number of experiments. Therefore I eventually created the installation artwork of my own.
See more about Ran Hwang HERE!
How would you describe your style? How varied are your work?
I feel my practice has been changed over time. Nothing is permanent in this world.
Everything is constantly being born and dying. I think that the art and media I use are eternal. They therefore help to add stability to my life.
My works are keep evolving. I started off with painting, and then worked on site-specific projects such as hammering pins directly on existing walls in my studio, and a gallery, a museum and public spaces for a project. Now I am creating large-scale works by assembling portable panels together, making it more permanent. At first, walls and wooden panels were the primary base formats of my work, but ever since I discovered the beauty of the pins penetrating through the back of the panels, I began to use Plexiglass panels afterwards, which is transparent and thinner than wooden panels. I am now projecting video images onto the Plexiglas panels to develop the work into an integrated installation.
Do you have a signature touch in your works?
Because I pursued painting when I began my art practice, I regard my primary materials; buttons and pins as ‘paint’ for my work – although they are objects. That is why my installation works are considered to being highly influenced by pictorial aspects. When looked from a distance, they seem to be like paintings, but when taking a closer look, viewers can recognize that they are 3-dimensional works.
What do you love about being an artist?
Art provides a different perspective on the world. So being an artist is a truly amazing and a valuable experience to show my way of thinking about the world.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I am fascinated by beauty in a transient moment because all things that will fade are more precious in the present.
Also, I am interested in ready-made and post modernism. The core of my practice is to enliven tiny objects. Inspired by the book, Angstblute (written by Martin Walser in 2006), I survey the culmination of the beauty of human life and death.
What are some of your most popular works? Tell us a bit about some of your works and what you love about them. What’s your favorite and why?
My recent work, Becoming Again, drew a lot of attention. I believe it is because the video images of the Phoenix flying over the Cherry Blossoms made out of paper buttons on the Plexiglas have made a perfect combination expressing the cyclical nature of human life, the main subject of my works. The various colors and lights that were changing momentarily in the video image were very effectively fused on the surface of paper buttons and the Plexiglas panel. The entire exhibition space became a consolidated artwork.
Is there anything exciting that you are working on at the moment that you can tell us about?
My most recent project is initially created for my past solo exhibition at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris. (September 7th ~ 11th 2015), and this creation has been a strong booster for me to leap off to a next level in my practice.
Inspired by the unique geometry and historical meaning of the Korean alphabet, Hangul, I started experimenting with Hangul-buttons recently, creating the two of the artworks.
For example, “The Beginning of The Bright” is a reinterpretation of the two renowned architectures in Paris: The Arc of de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower. The Arc of de Triomphe and Eiffel Tower are merged on to a single panel, and the Hangul-buttons are used in the structures to create a unique architectural scene. Inspired by both Eastern and Western sources, I created an iconic monumental architecture in a scenic view imposing their metaphorical association. I interpreted these two Western architectures with the Eastern architectural aesthetics: the curved eaves, elegant silhouette lines, and geometric yet organic structures. The size of the work is approximately H220cm x W270cm x D18cm.
Also, “The 28 Days” is composed of clustered Hangul-buttons, which resemble cherry blossom at peak bloom.
Visitors could view the beautiful lines and structures of Korean palaces and plum blossoms and imagine the time-consuming and meditative labor that goes into the process of art making. Furthermore, the Hangul Project will invite the visitors to engage with the movement of the Hangul alphabets in the architectures and the blossoms. To be specific, the combination of vowels and consonant in Hangul alphabets will create different words and sentences in harmony to the viewers regardless of their ages and cultural backgrounds.
What is your philosophy on art and life?
I believe maintaining the inner peace and feeling the pure pleasure at work will be eventually shared with the prospective viewers. So I always try to get rid of greed and to empty my mind when I make an artwork, although it is not that easy at all.
What are your art dreams/goals?
I appreciate the fact that I can transform any of my dreams into art. Every time I look at my works, I enjoy having my own fantasies as well as keeping on dreaming. I would like to proceed with exploring works that reflect my inner world.
Describe yourself in three words.
A truth seeker.