Ekphrastic – Agglomerations by Chun Kwang Young

images-1When the madness of the Edinburgh Fringe gets too much for me each August, I pop into art galleries to rest my brain from words. I especially like Dovecot Studios on Infirmary Street, which this year was hosting an exhibition of incredible mixed-media constructions by Korean artist Chun Kwang Young. Here’s a sort of prose-poem response to the exhibition – because you can run from words, but you can’t hide…


The master works on a cosmic scale. For brushstrokes read boxes, that are not boxes, but triangles of polystyrene clothed in paper. Mulberry fibre, mulberry twine, twisted by assistants, legions wrapping landfill in nostalgia. Medicine packages, tincture of indigo, tinted taupe, dappled with the boxy characters of Korea, swaddled by the acolytes. He chooses the ones whose half-moon nail-beds please him, clean and cool-fingered even in August, blotchlessly cornerfolding crisp, crisp yet downy, the myriad boxes crawl, large and small and smaller, stutter over canvases, mothsoft rubbleheaps, rust-bled stains on the pre-silk, charred impact craters in among the chorus of paper-bandaged apices. In the master’s mind, immense moons of ice revolve in the open space of international galleries. What does it matter, the boys bickering girlsoft at the trestles, but the amiable static of the atelier? Their fingers are white moths, opening and closing. They all eat kimchi with their plain white rice. Their beauty depends on such interlaced tensions.

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