The exhibition features installations, sculptures and video works that reflect Kang’s study of the traditional Korean musical notation system Jeongganbo (井間譜).
First invented during the Joseon Dynasty (1392 until 1910), Jeongganbo is a method used to notate the pitch and length of time of notes within traditional orchestral music. The notation system is distinctive from the Western method of using staffed paper; in Jeongganbo each note occupies a small square, organized sequentially to connote time. Kang has chosen to use the Chinese character (井) in her title because of its resemblance to this grid system. Kang (b. 1977) has adopted this traditional grid as a foundation of her practice, using it to explore how we form social spaces.
In Jeong 井, Kang presents a series of modules that are a visual translation of Jeongganbo. Using the logic of the grid allows the artist to incorporate other elements including painting, mixed media and found materials and narratives from traditional Korean lyrics. Kang’s practice is organized around this complex and layered research, and her distinctive translation process is used to transform the notational system of traditional music into a spatial choreography. For the artist, each individual square symbolizes the rich tonality and movement of the viewer, all the while maintaining the restraint that defines Jeongganbo. When combined, her modules become a visual system that seeks balance, allowing for the coexistence of each individual square in a greater installation that frames the relationship between artwork and viewer.
Using the architecture of the gallery, Kang has transformed the three spaces to mirror a sequence of Jeongganbo squares. The exhibition comprises numerous mixed media sculptures, including Jeong and Pause and Position – Jeong, as well as the 26-minute video Black Under Colored Moon, which shows actors moving Jeong sculptures and arranging them in an ongoing series of notational arrangements.
Kang has written that, “It is through this structure of logic that I explore the contradictions and conflicts each individual faces in society, and build a structure of condensed harmony. Appropriating this past way of coexistence, I wish to portray the anxiety of the present while also nurturing a hope for the future.”