Salt Lake City
April 1, 2021 – October 31, 2021
Office Space is pleased to announce Doors and Windows, Chunbum (Chun) Park’s first physical solo show at Office Space Chettinad for its inaugural show in its 6000 square foot gallery in downtown Salt Lake City. This series, which is curated by art historian Bryce Chatwin, comprises various works on paper addressing the semiotics and historicity of the Asian female body during a turbulent moment of increased Sinophobia in the United States, a land which is torn apart by cultural and political divisiveness while being fraught with racism.
This exhibition expresses the human form and the male gaze through the lens of a South Korean–American artist. His works emphasize the human body, and each one details a different aspect of human experience from an Asian viewpoint, through the vulnerability of the exposed human form. There are two variations of a ballerina in the exhibition, Ballerina in Lines, and Pink Ballerina. These two works show a relational structure to one another, the positioning of the body and the overall construction of the figure is almost identical, the Ballerina in Lines in a more deconstructed form that shows the hard outlines that keep the shapes of the body defined but also confined to those square and triangle shaped spaces. In Pink Ballerina it is less confined to these lines as they disappear and the body is able to breathe through the life of the paint stokes that are thick and expressive. Not only does this show the artistry process as the lined figure is likened unto a blueprint compared to the ballerina layered in paint, but it also breaks down stereotypes of Asian Identity by allowing for the breaking out of the assumption that all Asians are the same (like the blueprint). Much of Asian culture is misunderstood in Western societies, there are many religions, languages, and societal structures across countries and even regions in Asia, the Pink Ballerina is a breaking out of this social box of categorization and becomes so much more than Asian or American, it becomes even more so an individual of uniqueness.
The breaking down of the body is further investigated with Male Gaze, Depressed, and Modern Man, all of which detail exposed male bodies, all of which are in intimate and compromising poses, that lend power to the viewer of the work. With the addition of doors that will cover these works this further expands the power of the viewer to take on their own personal gaze of the body. Depressed especially looks inward on the self, showing the emotion and hardships faced by many people in America of Asian descent, especially after the march shootings in Atlanta at an Asian Spa which saw the loss of 8 people 6 of which were Asian, but all of whom will be missed by many loved ones in their lives, further expressed by My Aunt and Cousin, and Sketchbook # 3/5 detailing family structures and the importance of the family unit in understanding belonging, though a double image of Chun’s aunt holding an image of his cousin, and of a family owned restaurant in Sketchbook # 3/5 detailing people working an honest job, much like the 8 individuals in the spa that fell victim to a hate crime. As much of an invasion the Atlanta incident was, Doors and Windows is also an invasion of the visitor on the form, as they look at the white papers on the dark wall, as if they are windows letting in light, and the works covered over by doors require an invasion of privacy by interaction with and viewership of the investigations of the body in these artworks by pulling them open. Much as the shooter invaded the spas privacy, claiming it had to be done because the massage workers were thought to be temptatious, turning them into sexual objects. This is nothing new, sadly, in history for Asian women in America, sexual trafficking and sexualization in Hollywood has run rampid for many years. The film Full Metal Jacket exhibits this perfectly. The Doors and Windows too are a sexualization of the body, and gaze forced on Asian identity, emphasizing the hardship of defining and understanding what Asian-American identity is, and brings further into question the social archetype of Western culture and society and what is expected of individuals that don’t fit the historical norm of the parameters of white male power and dominance incited by colonization and historical power structures that have yet to be fully broken down.
Chunbum Park, also known as Chun, was born in Seoul, South Korea, in 1991. He came to the United States in 2000 to study English and attend K-12 schools. He graduated from Montgomery Bell Academy in 2009 and subsequently studied at various art schools and universities. In 2020, Park obtained his BFA in Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts, where he began to explore the themes of eroticism and sexual fantasy. Currently an MFA Fine Arts Studio student at the Rochester Institute of Technology, Park is delving into the topics of gender fluidity and the male gaze, which should involve varying amounts of self gaze based on the ratio of masculinity to femininity of the male’s personality. Park has recently exhibited at the SVA Chelsea Gallery and was featured on Artsy.net for an online exhibit organized by SHIM. Park is also the founder of the Emerging Artists Collective, an online community for artists where he interviews other artists.
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