Somehow both humble and eye-popping, Gyun Hur’s “Spring Hiatus,” a rainbow-striped carpet made of the finely shredded petals of silk flowers, spreads in front of Macy’s department store at Lenox Square like a horizontal Color Field painting.
The silk flowers and format — a reference to Hur’s mother’s Korean wedding blanket — are the same as her previous gallery installations, which garnered her the 2010 Hudgens Prize. For her first public art project, however, Hur chose to include the process as part of the piece.
As I wrote in my AJC review, passers-by could watch the young Marietta artist and her helpers — including her parents, who are stalwart participants in all her projects — on their hands and knees spreading mounds of silk flowers along a wooden batten (left), one stripe at a time, with the edges of calling cards. When colors strayed beyond their boundaries, they were removed with tweezers.
A brilliant move, it brought home the precision and discipline that this labor-intensive work required. The deinstallation process, to start around March 25, promises to be just as interesting.
Interaction with the audience is also an important component of the piece, commissioned by Flux Projects. (Its site has a video of the installation.) Hur will be on hand most weekday afternoons through the end of the month, answering questions, as she did during the installation, from the basic “What is this?” to artists inquiring about her methods.
The conversations have already proved enlightening for Hur as well. Visitors have shared similar customs of their native cultures, holy rites that involved making floor drawings of pigmented rice or sawdust. Though secular, “Spring Hiatus” seems to have tapped into a Jungian vein of spiritual offering. It’s not for sale, it’s not useful, and it will disappear at the end of March. It is a gift of temporary public art.