It takes several thousand years for layers and layers of plant waste to compress into a rich, black coal deposit. Undisturbed, that coal will only grow stronger within the Earth. Given enough time and pressure, it could, theoretically, perfect itself into a diamond.
It’s a point to keep in mind when viewing the work of Seon-Ghi Bahk, a Korean artist known for creating intricate sculptures by suspending pieces of charcoal from nylon wires. His latest project, An Aggregation, is a collection of half-rotted columns. They explore the relationship between nature and civilization–the biological world, and the order that mankind attempts to ascribe to it.
Through this lens, it’s hard to see Bahk’s art as anything but critical to culture. The columns themselves float like architectural phantoms–ghostly footprints of humanity’s time on Earth. It’s almost as if these structures are built by nature in a post-human age; nature, turned sentient (stay with me here), honors or mocks our long-forgotten monuments with its coal sculptures while it forms its sea of diamonds below the surface.
An Aggregation is on display at Miami’s Zadok Gallery through August 25.