Airan Kang’s Illuminated Bookshelf

NEW YORK—Somehow, Airan Kang‘s lighted paintings and illuminated books draw viewer’s attention to the subjects and titles of the books she has selected, rather than to the technological elements she has introduced to the literary installations.

The colorful lights illuminating the tomes are incredibly mesmerizing, but up close the names of artists including Yayoi Kusama, Jeff Koons, Kara Walker, Andy Warhol and the intentionally misspelled “Frida Kalo” and “Robert Richenburg,” are far more consuming. (According to the gallery, Kang misspelled each artist’s name on either the front, spine or back of the books.) Equally intriguing subjects like postmodernism, utopia and Malcolm X, and titles such as “Things Fall Apart” and “The Paris Wife,” also adorn the spines.

“Luminous Words,” 2013 (lighting book installation – LED lights, resin encasements, custom electronics).

“Luminous Words,” an exhibition of Kang’s works is currently on view at Bryce Wolkowitz. The gallery describes the show as “exploration into the ontology and evolution of the book as a source of knowledge in the digital era.
” Kang lives and works in Seoul, Korea.

“Luminous Words” is on view at Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery from Feb. 28 to April 6, 2013.

All photos © Arts Observer

Installation view of “Pile of Books (Horizontal),” 2012 (acrylic on canvas, LEDs).

Installation view of lighted paintings.

A lighted Robert Frost painting.

Detail of “Luminous Words.”

Kang’s choices tell a story. Has she created her ideal bookshelf, a representation of her influences?

According to the gallery, “by introducing light from within the sculpture, Kang removes the association with the object as an actual book, asking the viewer to contemplate the subject matter conveyed by the book’s title.”

Detail of “Luminous Words.”

The gallery describes Kang’s digitally lit books as “electronically luminescent sculptures cast from transparent synthetic resin.”

“The Pile of Books (Vertical),” 2012 (acrylic on canvas, LEDs).

Detail of “The Pile of Books (Vertical).”

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