A digital archive of Asian/Asian American contemporary art history

Choi, Eun Young

Other Names: 최은영


"Dislocation is a challenge I struggled with all my life. As a daughter of a diplomat, I lived and traveled to many parts of the world. Moving to different countries and cultures every two or three years required that I quickly adjust to a new environment and still maintain a sense of identity and balance. I cannot say that living in different cultures has had a direct influence in my work, but the idea of dislocation and transformation is always present in one form or another.

Storytelling is another element that I play with in my work. It originates in speech and language to give form to concepts, emotions, and desires. I gather bits and pieces of stories and contain them in little containers whether it be a room, a bottle, a zip lock bag or the words themselves. Like insects held captive in a web, the remnants of life, memories and stories are caught and accumulated until they grow into an entirely new entity. It is about little fragments becoming a whole, and in the process, going through transformation and translation in both the physical and intellectual realm.

When all the pieces of a smashed vase are glued together, it becomes a vase once again. However, it can no longer be the same vase that it was before it was reassembled piece by piece. By concentrating on the bits and pieces I discover new and different stories waiting to be told. My latest work 'Moby Dick' deals with this idea of transformation--the interpretation of a story and the interpretation of the interpretation. By retelling the story word for word in sculptural text I try to contain the story that cannot be contained. Thus, 'Moby Dick' is no longer 'Moby Dick'.

I have recently become very aware of the element of time in my work. I have just started to explore the durational qualities inherent in a story. When a story is told it exists in the same time and space that we are no matter how intangible it may be. It also continues to exist in the mind of the viewer/listener for an indefinite amount of time. Furthermore, a story usually conveys an event or emotion that existed in reality or in fiction and thus always contains a time frame of its own.

Joseph Beuys once said that human thought is a sculpture made inside a person. I am interested in the moment of transformation when the intangible becomes tangible and the tangible becomes intangible again. I want my work to function not just as an object or thought but to act as signifiers for the viewer. What it may signify will vary with the viewer, and that intangible mutability is what excites me most about my work."

Eun Young Choi, Artist Statement

Gallery of Selected Works