#books #Jukhee Kwon #paper #sculpture

Jukhee Kwon Revives Abandoned Books in Elaborate Paper Sculptures and Installations

April 3, 2023

Kate Mothes

An installation made from several old books with large draping chains of paper made from book pages.

“Oval Book Forum” (2023), paper (eight books), 400 x 200 x 150 centimeters. Photo by Jonathan Greet. All images © Jukhee Kwon, courtesy of October Gallery, London, shared with permission

In elaborate sculptures that range from a few inches to several feet, South Korean artist Jukhee Kwon explores the duality of destruction and recreation to give new life to abandoned books. Painstakingly manipulating old tomes by hand, she constructs intricate tendrils and chains of paper still attached to the spines, cutting between the lines so that the text remains legible and merges into new narratives.

Currently based in Italy, Kwon finds books published in Italian like Guerra e Pace—or War and Peace—to provide the starting point for her work. In others, the title of the book is obscured completely by loops and curls of paper. The artist repetitively twists, ruffles, weaves, or links the pages, creating a variety of meshes and draping forms that cascade from the binding and vary greatly from one piece to the next. In “Meditation,” she incorporates the craft tradition of jong-i jeobi, the Korean word for origami, and the original marker ribbon provides a focal point in “Red Circle Book.”

Kwon suggests there are numerous ways to comprehend what we see. A flower could also be a medallion; a series of curtain-like columns mimics waterfalls; and woven webs form baskets or provide the shelter of nests. Paralleling the way great writing contains multiple layers of meaning, the artist is interested in exploring different interpretations, visualizing how thoughts and experiences metaphorically unfurl and blossom.

If you’re in London, you can explore Kwon’s solo exhibition Liberated at October Gallery through April 22, and follow her on Instagram for updates.


A round, medallion-like artwork made from linking the pages of a book with a red cover.

“Red Circle Book” (2022), paper (one book), 60 centimeters diameter. Photo by Leonardo Puccini

A detail of a sculpture made from the pages of a book.

Detail of “Red Circle Book”

A sculpture made from the pages of a book that have been woven into an intricate basket, which holds a book.

“Blossom” (2023), paper (one book), 30 x 30 x 30 centimeters. Photo by Leonardo Puccini

Two vertical sculptures made from books and book pages.

Left: “In Fiore” (2021), paper, 15 x 55 centimeters. Right: “Layered Crystal Book” (2023), paper (one book), 60 x 22 x 18 centimeters. Photos by Leonardo Puccini

An artwork made from black paper and a book using a Korean paper folding technique.

“Meditation” (2022), book and jong-i jeobgi with black paper, 80 x 80 x 150 centimeters. Photo by Jonathan Greet

A sculpture made from a book with pages formed into a nest-like shape.

“Escape” (2022), paper (one book), 20 x 40 x 25 centimeters. Photo by Leonardo Puccini

An artfully deconstructed copy of "War and Peace" in Italian.

“Guerra e pace” (2020), paper (one book), 30 x 20 centimeters. Photo by Leonardo Puccini

A view looking up at the rear of a large sculptural installation. A row of books is lined up above, suspended from the ceiling, and chains of book pages cascade to the ground from each book.

Detail of “Oval Book Forum.” Photo by Jonathan Greet

A wall sculpture made from a book. Pages have been woven and turned into strands that have been woven in a nest-like shape that drapes under the book.

“Where I can rest” (2023), paper (one book), 90 x 47 x 30 centimeters. Photo by Leonardo Puccini

Hundreds of rolls of paper in a rectangular composition.

“The Wall of Thoughts” (2022), paper, 103 x 64 centimeters. Photo by Leonardo Puccini

#books #Jukhee Kwon #paper #sculpture


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