void in solid
The concept of space relates to the unfilled. Such empty space may – both in the associated logic and in the pictorial representation – only manifest itself and becomes visible through the separation of this space from another. Only then does space become a visual experience.
Bongchull Shin is concerned with the visualisation of space using a material which in everyday life visually eliminates the separation between two spaces – glass. In the series void in solid, the artist examines the portrayal of empty space and its architectural manifestation. Using an extremely complex glass cutting technique, Bongchull Shin removes a single shape from numerous sheets of glass. He ensures that each cut-out shape in every sheet differs to only the tiniest degree in shape or layout from the one before it. Finally he glues the countless sheets horizontally on top of one another up to the desired height. By doing this he moves and influences the structure of the inner space; corners and edges emerge creating rhythm and shapes. Inside this glass tower an empty space emerges. By shunning unnecessary decoration and using only glass, Bongchull Shin creates a series of artworks resembling contemporary skyscraper architecture. By reflecting the surrounding environment in large glass facades, the several hundred-metre high towers almost appear invisible, disappearing into the background.
Glass in the form of a window or facade separates the external and internal world. It blocks out all senses except for vision. While spaces separated from each other by a glass wall for instance cannot be experienced via smell, taste or touch, the eye registers such separated spaces. Glass and the window or facade respectively is almost invisible so long as the eye focuses on the space behind the glass surface; with regard to a void in solid sculpture this would be the inner space. However, if the viewer concentrates on the outer surface rather than the inside of the sculpture, varying reflections of himself appear depending on the viewing angle; the inner space – the void – becomes blurred. With this the glass becomes a mirror and throws back questions at the watching subject who through the recognisable, reflected view (of himself) feels trapped as a voyeur.