Sun Young Byun
  • Introduction

  • Bio

  • Exhibitions

Optical Adventure

The works by Sun Young Byun prove that painting can hold its own against interior design prove. The Korean artist playfully mixes Asian and European patterns, confusing our typical orientation and thus readying us for an optical adventure. This journey flowers out of an overflow of styles: a calendar with Pop Art images by Roy Lichtenstein on a violet and pink flowered wallpaper, next to that a chair upholstered in budding blooms. A small table with grandmother’s white crocheted tablecloth bedecked with family photos, the characters in which Byon reveals only as white cut-out silhouettes. Of all things, the houseplants also remain white and look as they have been cut from the picture; these are empty spaces among the room’s opulent ornamentation.

As early as her painting studies, Sun Young Byun distanced herself from traditional motifs such as still lifes to search instead for everyday objects for her images that did not necessarily need to be carefully arranged. The more she tried to unjudgmentally combine opposites such as art and the everyday, luxury items and kitsch, the more experimental her selections and her way of dealing with the objects became. She began to turn an entire system of values on its head.

In her current works she plays with unusual perspectives of interior spaces. She conjures furniture, wallpapers, objects like vases and wall calendars, carpets, and doors into a mutual two-dimensional existence on the canvas. No perspectival sight lines or constructed back- and foreground divide or organize the colorful objects. Following the ideals of French legend Matisse, colorful effects and surface patterns weave themselves into a spectacular visual quilt. The perspectival illusion disappears because the artist dispenses with sharp dividers, constructed vanishing lines, and framing shadows, flooding the eye with decoration.

Idealism and reality, dream and everyday life begin to overlap in these unusual images. Sun Young Byun masterfully conducts the most varied traditions, cultures, and styles in a harmonious composition, an aesthetic challenge with new symbolic power.

Christina Wendenburg
1967born in Seoul, South Korea
1986Seoul Art High School, Seoul, South Korea
1991 BFA, Hong-Ik University, Painting Department, Seoul, South Korea
MFA, Hong-Ik University, Painting Department, Seoul, South Korea
teaching assistant, Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, USA
MFA, Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, USA
professor, Savannah College of Art & Design, Savannah, Georgia, USA
instructor, Seoul Women’s University, Painting Department, Seoul, South Korea
instructor, Hong-Ik University, Printmaking Department, Seoul, Südkorea
instructor, Hong-Ik University, Painting Department, Seoul, South Korea
Extraordinary Professor, Seoul Women’s University, Painting Department, Seoul, South Korea
since 2003       instructor, Dong-Guk University, Painting Department, Seoul, South Korea

lives and works in Seoul, South Korea

Awards (Selection)

2007    MONTBLANC Young Artist World Patronage Competition, Hamburg, Germany
2006-07    International Artists Studio Program, Changdong, South Korea
An Open Biennial Competition Organized Bradley University, Peoria, Illinois, USA
First Coast Regional Art Competition, Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, USA
Juried Competition, Detroit Focus Gallery, Detroit, Michigan, USA
Twenty-fifth Annual Works on Paper Competition, Cash&Purchase Awards, Northwest Art Center, Minot, North Dakota, USA
Special Jury Review Committee Selects, Detroit Focus Gallery, Detroit, Michigan, USA
Annual All Media Exhibition, Detroit Artists Market, Detroit, Michigan, USA
Grand Prize at Art Competition Sponsored MBC Broadcasting Co, Seoul,South Korea
Special Prize at Korean Contemporary Prints Public Subscription, Seoul, South Korea
1992 Promotion Prize at Art Competition Sponsored MBC Broadcasting Co, Seoul, South Korea

Solo Exhibitions (Selection)


Alexander Ochs Galleries, Beijing, China and Berlin, Germany
ArtPark, Seoul, South Korea
Lee Hwa Ik Gallery, Seoul, South Korea
Gallery HYUNDAI, Window Gallery, Seoul, South Korea
Gallery IHN, Seoul, South Korea

Forum Gallery, Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, USA
SaGak Gallery, Seoul, South Korea
1992    Batangol Gallery, Seoul, South Korea

Group Exhibitions (Selection)

2008 ART FORUM, Berlin,Germany
  Female Sensibility, Gallery ARTSIDE, Seoul, South Korea
Pocheon Asia Biennale 2007, Pocheon, South Korea
Art in philosophy, Sungkok art museum, Seoul, South Korea
Taipei Art Fair, Taipei, Taiwan
Recomposition of Masterpiece, Savina Museum, Seoul, South Korea
Christmas wish, Sp Gallery, Seoul, South Korea
Hybrid trend Contemporary Art Exhibition, Seoul Arts Center, Seoul, South Korea
Magic, Art, Cho Sun Press Museum, Seoul, South Korea
Sink into Space, Art Factory, Heiri Kyungkido, Seoul, South Korea
Movement on silence, Gallery DOS, Seoul, South Korea
Fiction, love - Ultra New Vision in Contemporary Art, MOCA, Taipei, Taiwan
Exploration of Light & Colors, Seoul Arts center, Seoul, South Korea
Plastic, Art Park, Seoul, South Korea
Contemporary Art Fair, Central City Millenium Hall, Seoul, South Korea
27th Bradley National Print Drawing Exhibition, Peoria, Illinois, USA
Group Exhibition, D.M.I, Company, Michigan, USA
Looking to the Far East, Juried Exhibition, Detroit Focus Market, Michigan, Michigan, USA
Interdisciplinary Group Exhibition, Forum Gallery, Cranbrook Art Museum, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, USA
The 19th Exhibition of Seoul Contemporary Art Festival, Seoul, South Korea
1991    Balcony Group Exhibition, Gallery 2000, Seoul, South Korea
1990   Cupid Group Exhibition, Do-ol Gallery, Seoul, South Korea

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