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C1

REVEALING

May 7 – June 8, 2024

Introduction

New York, NY – Gallery Chang is pleased to present Revealing: Moon Insoo, the debut solo exhibition of Korean artist Moon Insoo in New York City. This exhibition showcases a series of paintings and sculptures created by Moon Insoo over the past 40 years, employing various sizes and techniques.


After graduating from Seoul Arts High School and obtaining both BFA and MFA degrees in Sculpture at Hongik University, Moon Insoo has diligently pursued the elite course of the Korean art scene. Particularly noteworthy is his consecutive selection for special recognition at the Korea National Art Exhibition following his graduate studies. In 1993, he won the Kim Se-Choong Sculpture Award and was invited by the French Ministry of Culture to hold a solo exhibition in Paris, thereby gaining recognition as a talented artist with immense potential at a young age, both domestically and internationally.


Moon Insoo’s recognition extended beyond the art world to the general public in Korea through his 1993 work, Barrier installed in the outdoor sculpture park of the Seoul Arts Center. This large-scale sculpture, constructed with rugged steel plates and hefty cement blocks, underwent oxidation and rust over the course of 30 years, sparking controversy among numerous viewers who held a belief that “Art is something beautiful.” Moon Insoo’s artistic practice, which significantly breaks away from the traditional grammar of sculpture by using cement and iron as primary materials and creating oversized works that surpass human scale, was unfamiliar to the general Korena public in the 1990s. The discourse surrounding Moon Insoon’s Barrier evokes parallels with Tilted Arc (1981) by Richard Serra, a renowned American sculptor, which also stirred social controversy.


In 1981, Richard Serra installed a massive steel sculpture titled Tilted Arc, commissioned by the U.S. General Services Administration, in the center of a Foley Federal Plaza in Manhattan, New York, measuring 120 feet in length and 12 feet in height. This sculpture, upon installation, immediately sparked vehement protests as it divided the plaza in half and obstructed the gaze and movement of passersby. At the time, to the majority of citizens unfamiliar with the concept of public art, the artwork, crafted from rusty steel plates, appeared as nothing more than an obstructive eyesore on their commute routes. Approximately 1,300 citizens working in nearby buildings submitted petitions advocating for the removal of the artwork, leading to Serra filing a lawsuit against the federal government, which he ultimately lost, resulting in the dismantling of the artwork in 1989. While Serra's work was removed, this case remains a seminal example, expanding the traditional role and limitations of sculpture and elevating public art as a genre of societal interest.


While Moon Insoo is often likened to Richard Serra due to similar incidents and material choices, in reality, he draws much inspiration from the works of European sculptors such as Anthony Caro and Eduardo Chillida. Particularly in this exhibition, series such as "Red Bull" and "Owl of Minerva" will be prominently displayed. Moon Insoo's sculptures, which vividly depict the dynamism and strength of bulls and owls by emphasizing the contrast between black and red, blur the boundaries between painting and sculpture with a unique technique.


ABOUT THE ARTIST

Moon Insoo, a Korean contemporary artist known as the ‘Sculptor of Steel and Concrete,’ stands out for his modern approach, unbounded by traditional styles. His upbringing amidst war’s aftermath shapes his work, reflecting themes of destruction and reconstruction. His sculptures are abstract and urban, often incorporating heavy steel plates and protruding rebar, reminiscent of his childhood surroundings. Typically assembled like large patchworks, they exude both strength and lyrical beauty. While they seem to collide with the forces of creation and destruction, they possess a simple yet profound beauty, preserving the artist’s effort and becoming more intimate over time as they weather and age.


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