NJ Emerging Artist Seunghwui Koo
Date(s) - 04/29/2016 - 05/29/2016
NJ Emerging Artists Series
Seunghwui Koo – Mixed Media Sculpture
Cliffside Park, NJ
April 29 – May 29, 2016
Opening Reception: Friday, April 29th 6 – 8 pm
Gallery Talk: Wednesday, May 11th 7 – 8 pm
When Seunghwui Koo was young, her parents owned a butcher shop. During that time, she saw a lot of butchered pig. In Korea, when one opens a new business, buys a new car, or starts a big new endeavor, it is tradition to have a celebration with a pig’s head in the center or the room while money is put into the pig’s mouth. The person then bows and prays for a good and comfortable life. There is also a belief that when one dreams of a pig, it is a precursor to material wealth. In Korean culture, people will buy lottery tickets and charms of pigs to compliment these beliefs and traditions.
As an adult now living in Cliffside Park, NJ, Koo has experienced and observed many new cultural things. She has discovered there is a completely different connotation associated with the pig. The pig can also symbolize greed. This new world is a place where money rules, the distinction between good and evil is blurred, love and happiness are small things, philosophy has no place, and only material beauty matters. “I have observed people curse the rich for having monetary wealth but at the same time be envious.” Koo stated and continued “In today’s competitive society everyone appears to be running to win a race but not realizing you cannot win away your loneliness when the people you have ignored or mistreated in your pursuit are not there for you at the finish line.”
Koo’s pig figures are symbolic of the different kinds of people she encounters in her own everyday race of a life. The bright colors and satiric images used on the terracotta clay and mixed media “Piggies” have been purposely used to create a whimsical urban vibe to her work but upon further inspection represent a deeper and sometimes critical commentary on today’s society with the end goal of connecting with the viewer to inspire thought, forgiveness, solace and hope.