As part of its New Commissions Program, Art in General is pleased to announce Uptown, Uptown, a new artwork by Jihyun Park.
Uptown, Uptown is a sculpture of a fictional cityscape constructed from thousands of individual sticks of incense bound together. To comprise the landscape of the urban topography and distinguish individual edifices, Park measures and trims each stick of incense before ultimately coating the entire piece with a golden glaze. Assembled in the artist’s Brooklyn studio, the sculpture was constructed and is intended to be viewed suspended from the ceiling upside down, so that all vantage points can be gauged simultaneously.
Park was inspired by the fabled island of Laput featured in both Jonathan Swift’s revered children’s story Gulliver’s Travels (1726) and the influential Japanese animation Castle in the Sky (1986). To him, the concept that surrounds this mythical floating island is a phenomenon of the fantastic, not unlike his own preconceived notions of the island of Manhattan with its storied amplitude and perimeter lined with “unbreakable castles.”
After moving to New York in 1997, Park began to add a new dimension to this fantasy. Finding himself in the midst of the dreamland, certain illusions inevitably gave way to understanding, but others remain as what Park calls, “Mirages with uncertain futures. They reiterate the confounding duality of authenticity and illusion, hence the pairing in the name, Uptown, Uptown.”