Last September, designer Roland Mouret formed a partnership with START Art Fair - complimenting the Korean Eye 2020 exhibition - co-curating a ground floor space at London's Saatchi Gallery, exhibiting artworks by two female Korean artists; Seoul-based Hyojin Park and London-Seoul based Meekyoung Shin.
Following the START Art Fair, the works of Park and Shin travelled to Roland Mouret's flagship boutique at 8 Carlos Place in Mayfair for an extended pop-up exhibition until 7 November 2019. Aligned with Mouret’s devotion to the promotion and celebration of strong women, Mouret co-curated the ground floor space with Korean Eye 2020 Curator, START /PCA Founder and CEO Serenella Ciclitira to present the START x Roland Mouret space.
South Korean artist Hyojin Park's 'Spiritual Garden' series borrows from and challenges the still-life tradition. The artist begins each work by arranging flowers and foliage in antique porcelain and bronze vessels in her studio. Park then disturbs the stillness of these sculptural displays by casting paint over their surface. The dripping paint, almost Pollock-esque in its application, contrasts with the placidity of the blooms and the historical connotations of the still-life genre. On closer inspection, the flower masses reveal Greek statue figures and a very oriental blue and white porcelain vase. Supporting the base are reproduced imitations of mythological god's/goddess's representing human paradise and myth.
Annabelle Jordan speaks to Hyojin Park to find out more about her collaboration with Mouret, her greatest indulgence in fashion and what being a strong woman means to her.
Annabelle Jordan: Congratulations on being featured in the START x Roland Mouret pop-up in Carlos Place. How did you get involved with this project?
Hyojin Park: PCA Founder Serenella Ciclitira chose my work to present to Roland Mouret, she has long been a supporter of Korean artists and of my practice. I am so grateful to her for putting me forward for this wonderful project. It is so much more than I could ever have expected.
AJ: Why did you want to be involved with this project?
HP: It was such an exciting opportunity to challenge the relationship between different art forms, and to work with a fashion designer was new and very exciting
AJ: What do you think of Roland Mouret’s work and how important is fashion in your life?
HP: As a Korean, I wasn't familiar with Mouret's fashion, but during the collaboration, I looked closely at his work. His work is clearly different from the European fashion designers I knew before. He naturally drives out the beauty of a woman's body, creates a natural flow with luxurious fabrics with less decoration. Classic and not overly designed but creative design, I think that it enhances confidence as a woman when she wears and highlights the positive side of femininity. As an Asian, I was confused and lost in the flood of westernised clothing. I was out of fashion. But now that I know Mouret, I'm grateful that I've opened my eyes to fashion and its positive aspects. I feel lucky I am a woman now.
AJ: What is your greatest indulgence is fashion?
HP: I was born Asian and grew up in a Confucian setting. I think this has a great of an influence on the way I view fashion. For me, fashion has an inaccurate concept. I understood fashion to be what colour jacket to wear, how long a skirt would be, and also to determine the degree of exposure. But in the short term after meeting Mouret, I knew exactly what fashion was. The feeling of being excited and happy in his dress gave me enlightenment. Fashion is not how people look at me, but how happy I dress. My fashion indulgence is the moment that I dress happily and heartily.
AJ: Can you tell me about the work you have on display?
HP: My work, which has a flower mass on a body made of Greek statues and a very oriental blue and white porcelain vase, tells a story about realistic human life and ideal conditions at the same time. Sculptures such as Apollo and Daphne, Venus, David, and Bacchus represent the story of human lives, as are the figures in the blue and white vase. The relationship between man and woman, the youth of a woman, and the ordinary characters in a vase are all stories about humans. On the other hand, the lump of colourful harmony that is like an improper fraction is ideal. The human desire to be more beautiful, younger, loved and loved to blossom. Gorgeous but unattainable and empty flowers bloom.
AJ: Did you have any input in the way the pop-up was curated?
HP: I was in Korea when the pop-up was installed but Mouret and I discussed the installation at length and I love what he did.
AJ: How important are viewer reactions to your work?
HP: I believe that all artwork must be very satisfying in terms of visuals. That's why I want viewers who see my work to approach and admire curiosity no matter what they accept. The next issue is the content the work has. It's a very important aim for me to come in and have interests. So far, viewers have been successful in eliciting reactions of excitement and admiration.
AJ: One of the main themes of this pop-up is about celebrating strong women. What does being a strong woman mean to you?
HP: I think the term strong women is indeed a vague and difficult term to define. Since I am an Asian woman, the interpretation is obviously different from European women. When I asked my husband (he is Korean)what a strong woman thought, he replied very embarrassedly. The woman who was strong to him was a woman with strong self-assertion or a professional woman with a clear subjectivity. I am also wondering what time it is now that the word "strong woman" is used. I would like to answer this question with no correct answer. A woman who is lucky to have a woman born and who lives a life that she wants to be healthy in and out of the cultural frame of the East and West is a strong woman.
AJ: What’s next? Do you have any future plans to collaborate with Mouret?
HP: No but I would love to.