I am not religious at all in a traditional sense. But being in my studio struggling to make work has taught me that there are incomprehensible mechanisms operating beyond our perceptions. The glimpses of the vastness show up as “uncanny coincidences”, “unexplainable perceptions”, “overwhelming emotions of unknown origins” and so on.
So when I felt an unexplainable familiarity in being in Korea, an overwhelming sense of nostalgia and extreme sadness in leaving the country, I was not too puzzled, but still the sensation was new and palpable. All I can say is that things connect in some unknown ways and I humbly feel it as it is.
This is one of the bigger shows I have had, with 17 art works in a large venue with 2 floors.
The pieces were selected by Jung Lee the director of Gana Art and his curators. The set certainly has a cohesive theme of some sort, but I couldn’t pin point it initially. The director basically said that he thought about the taste of the Korean audience. The pieces filled up the venue like they were made for it. They certainly made selections which are cogent and very effective as a whole.
Having been in Korea looking at its art, new and old, working with people there and breathing the air in Seoul, I came to speculate on an intuitive level that the theme has something to do with some sort of faceless force of nature which grips hearts of the people in the region. And grips hearts of people in surrounding regions just as the Japanese centuries ago were so passionately fascinated by their ceramics in a narrowly defined context of “wabi sabi” sensibility. In reality, though, what I am trying to describe exists in more fundamental and ubiquitous ways, which can manifest in countless ways. It’s the resigned harmony with the unknown vastness, which I also feel as a basis of my studio practice. To me, being in studio is to be a listener, a keen observer, a channeler, who reflects dynamics surrounding us as patterns which resonate with us with visceral significance.
And this somehow relates back to my feeling about being in Seoul—my familiarity and affinity toward it. I am deeply drawn to the land, food and its people without knowing exactly how or why. My attempt in articulating it seems to remain circular as words go around the essence.
In any case, I thank the wonderful people I met there and I look forward to our future collaborations.
Here are some images from the show. Some detail images have been added, which were photographed previously in my studio.