Chun Kwang Young

“I think the first thing I saw [as a child] was my mother's face, and then there was Mulberry paper. It is the spirit and soul of Koreans.”

Chun Kwang Young (B.1944) is a Korean artist best known for his textural, Mulberry paper sculptures. Drawn to America in his twenties, the promise of the American dream was enticing. During his time in the States, he absorbed himself in the culture, and focused on perceiving the values or lack thereof in modern society.(Read More)

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At a time when Abstract Expressionism was flourishing in New York, Chun felt like he’d finally found his place. Yet, as he continued to push the limits in his art, he felt more restrained. After a nostalgic moment he experience when he was feeling ill, he recalled a childhood memory of neighborhood doctor’s office who practiced traditional Chinese medicine. Afraid of needles, Chun would stare up at the ceiling at each individual packages of Mulberry paper that were hanging from it, each with a name card of medicine that was wrapped inside. 

As he looked to fuse his Korean culture with his artwork, he created a new style. For each of those Mulberry papers now represented a memory, a moment in time, and they become accumulations of human experience. His celebrated Aggregation series of large-scale sculptures made of triangular Mulberry paper reflects unities of information, a part of a whole. As Chun says, “I tried to transform my canvas and the Mulberry paper pieces into a window that reflects the history of human life.” 

Born in Hongchun, South Korea, he studied at Hong-Ik University in Korea and received his MFA from the Philadelphia College of Art. In 2014, Chun penned the Mulberry Mindscapes, a monograph that encompasses the breadth and variety of his successful artistic career. He has been awarded Artist of the Year by the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Seoul and was granted the Presidential Prize in the 41st Korean Culture and Art Prize by the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism. His work has been displayed in the collection of the Brooklyn Museum in New York; Museum of Seoul National University, South Korea; Victoria and Albert Museum in London, UK, Lee Ungno Museum, South Korea, and many more.


Awards & Honors

2009    Presidential Prize in the 41st Korean Culture and Art Prize, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Seoul, South Korea

2001    Chun Kwang Young: Artist of the Year 2001, The National Museum of Contemporary Art, Gwacheon, South Korea

1973    Special Prize in the Earth Art II, sponsored by Civic Center Museum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

1967    Korean Contemporary Artist’s Invited Exhibition Special Prize, National Museum of Modern Art, Seoul, South Korea


Important Exhibitions

2022    Moscow Museum of Modern Art, Moscow, Russia

2020    The Ground Modern Art Museum, Seoul, South Korea

2018    Brooklyn Museum, New York, USA

2017    Museum De Reede, Antwerp, Belgium

2016    Wooyang Museum of Contemporary Art, Gyeongju-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do, South Korea

2013    Seoul National University Museum of Art, Seoul, South Korea

2011    Knoxville Museum of Art, Knoxville, Tennessee, USA

2009    University of Wyoming Art Museum, Laramie, Wyoming, USA

2008    The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, Connecticut, USA

2002    The Columbus Museum, Columbus, Georgia, USA

1979    Malta National Museum, Saint Julian, Malta, USA


Important Group Exhibitions

2015    Venice Biennale Palazzo, Grimani Art Museum, Venice, Italy

San Museum, Wanju, South Korea

Spalding House: Less = More, Honolulu Museum of Art, Honolulu, Hawaii

2013    The Moment, We Awe – Contemporary Art from Korea, How Art Museum, Wenzhou, China

2006    Holland Paper Biennial, CODA Museum, Apeldoorn, the Netherlands

2005    2005 Seoul Art Exhibition, Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul, South Korea

2003    Crossings 2003, Korea/Hawaii, Honolulu Museum of Art, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA


Permanent Collections

British Museum, London, England

Victoria & Albert Museum, London, England

Busan Metropolitan Art Museum, Busan, South Korea

National Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, South Korea

Brooklyn Museum, New York, USA

United Nations Headquarters, New York, USA

Woodrow Wilson International Center, Washington D.C., USA

Yale University Art Gallery, Connecticut, USA