Jin-Sook So | Steel Mesh Untitled

11 November - 18 December 2021

Many artists take inspiration from their travels and their lives. In Jin-Sook So's work there is a sense of place – Sweden, Japan, America and Korea – and also a sense of Korea's past. She has lived and studied in these countries and views herself as neither being locked into a single nationality or a single artistic medium. She references each place in her work in ways that are strikingly modern and original. So's early electroplated, steel-mesh patchwork pieces are an illuminating example. While reminiscent of traditional Korean bojagi wrapping cloths, her soft, color-washed color palette, the additional texture of the mesh, even the frosted Perspex frames in which they float, are a reinvention. No longer a functional, decorative item, or even a textile, these patchworks have become contemporary artifacts – combining the fragility of silk in appearance and the strength of steel in execution.


It was in the 80s, during an extra year of study in the Metals Department at Konstfack University of Arts, Crafts and Design, that So became familiar with hard metals. She began treating metals, such as stainless steel mesh, like textiles; bleaching, braiding, twisting, and oxidizing them, burnishing them with gold, silver and copper nitrate, using brushes, blow torches and wax. Her work for the Lausanne Biennial in 1989 reflected this new approach. For that piece, she worked directly with the flat steel mesh, developing the volume by pleating it manually, repeating and twisting the form and then coloring it, blue, black and brown, with a blow torch. Energy and voluminous dimension characterize the work.


The exhibition "Steel Mesh Untitled" features a selection of works executed in oxidated steel mesh, Perspex, wood and paper, that range from early on in So's career until present day.


Jin-Sook So (b. 1950) was born in Jeonju, Korea, and lives and works in Stockholm, Sweden. She is educated at Soodo Women's College of Art in Seoul, the University of Art in Kyoto and Konstfack University of Arts, Crafts and Design, Stockholm. Her work has been shown extensively around Europe, Asia and USA, and is represented in MAD Museum of Art and Design (New York), National Museum of Art (Osaka), Brooklyn Museum (New York), Röhsska Museet (Gothenburg), Nationalmuseum (Stockholm) and the Public Art Agency of Sweden, among other institutions and private collections.



Text: Rhonda Brown & Tom Grotta, co-curators Browngrotta arts

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