Sunah Choi


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Sunah Choi Material, Functionality and Immateriality In her current exhibition at Galerie Widauer, Sunah Choi addresses the question of material and function but also form and materiality. In the large room, she positions furniture-like structures that, however, have no functionality. For example, she groups angular steel elements, supposed tables, which she combines with colored round glass bodies. But they have no everyday function, rather it is a matter of pure form, material and color contrasts. The glass, which she has painted in subtle shades of red-orange or violet, seems to have been fixed aleatorically, as it were, to sharp-edged steel elements. The artist dissolves familiar visual traditions with great ease, creating material constellations in which the contrasts between compactness, solidity, and stability on the one hand and semi-transparent glass surfaces in gentle circular forms or as geometric elements are the focus of reception. She explores the artistic possibilities of layered glass elements with works such as "Ganzer Tag (Whole Day)" (2022) as an expansive wall installation in a large room. Glass elements are placed on the shelf-like steel construction, which are attached to the wall. They are translucent, resulting in beautiful refractions of light and shading. The precise geometric construction is broken by the sensitive treatment of the colored glass surfaces. The associative title refers to the formal aura of the individual work. The "whole day" appears as a seven-part wall element as a self-contained multicolored form that seems to rest within itself. A particularly beautiful room installation is the work "Lichter (Lights)", as a 27-part delicate "mural", which rhythmizes the room through different distances between the individual small wall elements almost as if in a musical way. Each element is at the same time an exact formal structure, which, however, captures auratic brilliance through differently colored glass coatings. The different heights, colors and positions in the room create small halos of light around each element, which gently dissolve the pure materiality and geometric design in favour of subtle shadings. Glass and light are elements of the immaterial, they are permeable and take up the space that surrounds them. In contrast, the steel structure in Sunah Choi's works stands as an unshakable geometric foundation that serves as a solid base for the floating glass elements. And so the concrete formal color constructions or compositions may also serve as metaphorical references to existential opposites, to dual principles that may seem incompatible and yet complement each other in unexpected ways. Sunah Choi's works are characterized by formal, material, and atmospheric opposites, such as the metallic alloy steel and the element glass, which is based on natural origins and mostly consists of a mixture of the basic materials quartz sand, soda, and lime. The artist uses color as another atmospherically charged element. The color surfaces are still slightly translucent, transparent and lively in the application of color. The lightness of implementation, also thematized in the exhibition title Rosa, is at the center of the artistic conception. Sunah Choi understands the exhibition of her works as a staging of disparate formal objects, which, however, become reference systems of our perception precisely through seemingly contradictory densities, formal and atmospheric aspects. A group of supposed table-like objects, also compact in color, meets geometric wall elements and wall installations. It is a wonderful mesh of expansive sculpture, wall elements set with great lightness, and small, almost fragile light forms that likewise fill the space. A walk through multifaceted material worlds, which become weightless but auratically dense spatial animations through the immateriality of glass, color and light.
Gaby Gappmayr