DISCOMFORT OF STRANGERS
David Pollock speaks to South Korean artist Chong-Bin Park about his first solo show at the Corn Exchange Gallery
David Pollock Which works are you showing?
Chong-Bin Park This show includes five distinct pieces, of which I consider ‘Feeding’ (1999) to be the most important because I feel that my later works more or less originated from it. It’s a photographic document of the process of raising two newborn birds for a month, until they start to fly. When I was about 13 years old I raised more than 60 birds in my small room. I don’t clearly remember or understand why, but it greatly influenced my relationship with myself and the world around me.
Then when I came to study at the RCA in London 20 years later, I looked back and thought about myself in those days. I felt really vulnerable and weak when I first arrived too.
DP Alienation is a common theme in your work, isn’t it?
CBP Yes, but it’s more to do with raising questions on inherent human solitude, and the relationship between people and their surroundings. ‘Cloud’, for example, is an object with a tiny space inside in which only one person can stand. I want people to feel comfort and uneasiness at the same time in there. ‘Looking at Him’ is a giant cardboard figure of a Doberman dog looking obediently upwards towards its master, to show this paradoxical relationship which exists between suppression and protection.
DP You work in sculpture, photography and sound installation; how would you define yourself as an artist?
CBP As a sculptor, because I think in sculptural terms whenever I plan a work. It’s just that sometimes I find my idea can be better told with different media, so I learn how to use the photographic equipment or 3D applications to embody the idea. Using different media is an attempt to expand the language of sculpture, rather than an attempt to work in mixed media.
Chong-Bin Park, Corn Exchange Gallery, Edinburgh, until Thu 9 Aug.