Choi Jeong Hwa (b. 1961)

Choi Jeong Hwa (b. 1961) is both an artist, and a designer of buildings, furniture and furnishings. One of the most dynamic and well-known of Korean contemporary artists, his work has been presented at numerous biennials including Liverpool (2004), Venice (2005), and Singapore (2006), as well as at Asia House, London (2006) and Wolverhampton (2007).
 
On initial viewing, the strong design elements and colours of Choi Jeong Hwa’s works seem like Pop Art. However, Choi Jeong Hwa’s works involve finding and exploring the intrinsic value hidden beneath the surface. The surface to the inner dialectic of his visual aesthetics challenges and questions us, the viewers, who have perhaps become too content with other forms of contemporary art.
 
Choi Jeong Hwa creates art from the most humble of materials, finding inspiration in soda bottles, shopping bags, and colourful plastic dishes from the 99-cent store. Inspired by the harmony and chaos of the urban environment, the artist, architect, and designer undermines the hierarchy of the museum by often installing his pieces on the outside of buildings. He has created a 10-story installation made from 1,000 discarded doors, and decorated Seoul’s Olympic Stadium with garlands made from 2 million pieces of trash—transforming the building’s surface into a glittering jewel. In other pieces he explores ideas of artificiality and permanence through the use of plastic food and flowers. He declines to categorise his work, leaving the audience to define his pieces on a personal level. As his motto states: “My art is your heart.”