In Wind and Whisper, her fifth solo exhibition at Callan Contemporary, Key-Sook Geum debuts a suite of immaculately beautiful sculptural objects, dually inspired by traditional Korean garment forms and the lineage of haute couture. Time intensive and meticulous in execution, at once delicate and dramatic, these conceptual sculptures embody spiritual and humanistic ideals that resonate across cultures. Reintroducing silk gauze into her array of signature materials—including faceted beads, crystals, coral, and semiprecious stones interwoven with red, black, and silver wire—Geum integrates Eastern and Western notions of positive and negative space. In wall-based works as well as hanging mobiles, the sculptures are exquisitely responsive to variations in natural and directional lighting, casting prismatic webs of light and shadow. The forms and shadows move subtlely as their contours flutter on air currents in the room, quivering like flower petals and evoking the East Asian concept of “qi,” the life-breath that vibrates within our awareness.
A professor emerita of textile arts and fashion design at Hongik University (Seoul), Geum has exhibited in cultural capitals such as New York, Chicago, Berlin, Vienna, Beijing, and Tokyo, and has been commissioned by major international corporations to create monumental installations as much as four to ten stories high. Last year she received global acclaim as costume director for the opening and closing ceremonies at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, where her innovative designs were praised by critics as unique in the history of the Olympic Games. Her sculptural works are included in institutional collections such as the University of British Columbia (Vancouver) and the China National Silk Museum (Hangzhou), as well as in significant corporate and private collections around the world.