Jae-eun Choi “Paper Poem”

Jae-eun Choi Paper Poem 2017
Installation view at MISA SHIN GALLERY
photo by Ichiro Mishima

Jae-eun Choi Paper Poem 2017
Installation view at MISA SHIN GALLERY
photo by Ichiro Mishima

Jae-eun Choi 崔在銀
Paper Poem
Date: Friday October 20 – Saturday December 2, 2017


Download Press release (English)

Jae-eun Choi was born in Seoul in 1953. During a visit to Japan in 1972, she became fascinated by ikebana, and decided to study under Hiroshi Teshigahara, the 3rd head of the Sogetsu school, learning how the art form transcends merely arranging flowers to embody concepts of space and a certain view of the universe.

Choi has been making artwork addressing questions of the life-cycle and time since the 1980s. The series of works that makes up this exhibition, entitled Paper Poem, was produced between 2010 to 2016 while Choi was based mostly in Germany. Seeing a number of old books discarded outside her Berlin apartment, she brought them into her studio, where she removed the blank pages like the flyleaves, endpapers and so on, and produced collages from them. The paper produced in the late 19th century and a large part of the 20th century was affected by exposure to light, which bleached its edges over time. The delicate gradations of overlapping pages that come together inside the “frame” this bleaching creates are like layers of time stacked on top of one another. The compositions, which are reminiscent of constructivist collages, enhance these natural gradations, while also appearing much like the bird’s eye view of a city, with all its buildings alongside one another.

Within the theme of time that runs throughout the artwork Choi has been producing for three decades, we sense different types. In particular, arboreal time is key. This is placed in contrast with human time, and yet connected with it, through the eternal cycle of life. The paper used in the Paper Poem series is thus not material, but serves to indicate the way in which arboreal time is transformed into the time of human wisdom and memory through books.

This exhibition also includes a tree sculpture produced in conjunction with the Paper Poem works. Placed around the tree are balled up pieces of paper with poems written on, and viewers are allowed to pick those pieces of paper up and read the poems. When they finish reading them, they return them to the floor to be read by the next visitor. With all this touching, the texture of the paper will become softer, and by the time the exhibition closes, the poems will have evolved into different ones.

Jae-eun Choi
Choi was born in Seoul in 1953. In 1976, she moved to Tokyo where she studied ikebana in the Sogetsu style. From the 1980s onward, she has been producing artwork around the themes of life cycles and time. She has participated in a number of international art exhibitions such as the 1991 São Paolo Biennal, the 46th Venice Biennale in 1995 where she represented Japan, and the 2016 Venice Biennale of Architecture. Solo exhibitions include Lucy and Her Time at the Samsung Gallery (Seoul, 2007), Forests of Aśoka at the Hara Museum (Tokyo, 2010) and The house that continuously circulates at the National Gallery (Prague, 2014.) She is currently working on a project in the DMZ between North and South Korea called Dreaming of Earth.

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