by Kyle Purdy

Mystery's Preservation, the Table Reservation, the Smooth Vibration
Wonmin Park’s 2013 Haze Series is a feat of balance. The subtly shaded opaque resin sculptures resemble something purely utilitarian—chairs and tables—but both the materials and the eponymous hazy coloring make the objets d’art appear too fine to function as mere furniture. The first Haze collection embodied a spring palette of delicate pastels, but when asked in 2013 to make a collection for the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, in Seoul, Park moved into muted neutrals. “I use color from my emotions,” he says. A moment of inspiration for Park? “Sometimes, when you see the sky, the colors are really amazing, and how the branches are going this way briefly, and also the flowers look beautiful.”

This agrarian consideration is practiced: one of his earliest pieces, 2008’s “When the Wind Blows,”—a sheer curtain with an abundance of small strings, as if a gentle breeze were holding it up—creates an intimate space between curtain and window, not quite inside, not quite out. The environmental dichotomy provides a gentle sense of youthful wonder: “I really started making things from my childhood, I think I just enjoyed it.”

Since his debut show at Design Days Dubai in 2013, Park has received several awards—including Rising Asian Talent Award at Maison & Objet, Paris, in 2015; and Global Star Designer for the Korea Institute of Design Promotion, in 2014—and his work has been shown in the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea and the Museo Bagatti Valsecchi in Milan. The recognition motivates him to continue when so many artists of his generation have dropped out: “Winning these kinds of awards gives me energy, it feels like I am doing something.”

Park graduated from the Design Academy Eindhoven in 2012, but the attention he is getting from both Europe and Asia are testaments to both his rising star status and the elemental nature of his craft.

In the coming year, Park will have solo shows at the Carpenters Workshop Gallery in Paris and London, and he will also be working with a currently unspecified premium luxury brand. He attributes this success to “passion, especially, for continuing my work by myself.”

So we asked Park: If everything goes the way you plan, where do you see yourself in 10 years? Are you still creating art?

“I am still learning about life and how to spend my life, that is always a big concern. I am very happy with what I am doing now because I am creating something that really has a special feeling for me. I am keeping kind of a student attitude for now; art is not only about painting or making sculptures, it is about trying something fresh and trying something new. In the future, I think I will continue art.”