Sun-Kyo Park

A contemporary portrait of South Korea

Sun-Kyo Park (he/him) was born in 1990 in Jeonju, South Korea. He now lives and works in Seoul.

Did you know?

Park was raised in a religious family. His family held District Worship, a weekly event in their own home. It brought people from different churches together to share hymns, food and stories.

Gallery shows

Inspired by communal worship, Park’s Cross-legged (2021-22) series was the basis for his first solo show with Woaw gallery, titled Huddle Around (2022).

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Collaborations with this artist

Practice overview

Sun-Kyo Park sees individual and collective life as deeply entwined. Using acrylic on canvas, he depicts figures against stark backgrounds in a graphic style, based on himself, his friends and strangers. Often sat cross-legged, they tell the story that everyone is born equal, but everyone is different. By repeating their poses, their unique qualities stand out like a game of spot the difference. In his recent work, he delves more into the idea of the 'nobody'. Faces are cropped, painted close-up and from the side. Park uses these non-specific characters to avoid depicting any singular emotion or social class. As such, he subverts traditions of portraiture which historically pays homage to the rich and powerful. Park flips this notion by documenting invented, nameless characters. Status and class are disregarded, and imagination takes prescience.

Fiction plays a large part in Park's work. He brings in characters from books, the Bible and Greek mythology. Frankenstein's Monster (2021), David (2020) and Sadducees (2021) are all examples. He explains, "I am often inspired by indirect experiences such as movies and novels". He combines his existing community with these rich, mythical worlds. The distinction between the real and unreal blurs, and Park treats both with equal importance. As a result, the paintings express the value in finding common ground with other people, both physical and fictional.

“My goal is for everyone to live independently, and to recognise each as an independent person”Sun-Kyo Park