About a thing

Oct 2022 Installation View

About a thing

Paper, Fabric, and Steel

Dimensions Variable

View of Installation at Carnaghi Arts Building in Tallahassee, Florida

October 2022

The installation work About a thing represents my fragmented memory of that day. Memory is the process of retaining or recalling past experiences and/or relevant impressions in a person’s consciousness. Memory consists of (i) personal experience and (ii) subjective feelings and/or thoughts based on the experience. Since memory is so vulnerable, work based on memory is flawed because my subjective feelings and emotions have been heavily involved. The wobbling black paper, dark chair, and desk in the wind express how my memory is affected by the experience. It shows the vulnerability of my regenerated memory as a middle school student. The dark chair and desk have the same size and form that I sat on in the middle school classroom and they help viewers understand the scene at that moment.

3학년 2반

Oil on Canvas

30 x 40 x 1.5 inches 

2022

Based on the yearbook photo of my middle school, this painting shows the education system of South Korea. All students have their own classroom where they take all courses. One assigned teacher takes charge of one classroom and plays an important role in students’ lives. The title 3학년 2반 provides the level of grade (3rd grade in middle school, equivalent to 9th grade in the U.S.) and the order of classroom (2nd). All students pose in a unified way and wear the school uniform according to strict regulations like the length of the skirt, the hairstyle, etc. The erased faces of students indicate totalitarianism and introduce the following questions to the audience: How has totalitarianism been used in the education system to generate citizens? Can public interests take precedence over individual interests? If so, who decides it? Through this work, the audience can think about how the education system trains students in compliance with specific standards and regulations.

A silent witness

Pen on Paper

22 x 30 inches 

2022

A silent witness is inspired by the citizens and protesters in the Gwangju Democratization Movement. This monochrome drawing consists of the figures of the protesters in front of tear gas, citizens made to face the wall by soldiers, and a tree that stood in the middle of the movement. Abstractly expressed, the winding tree indicates the turbulent history of modern Korea. As a silent witness, the tree experienced the stormy period and stood as a bystander and participant at the same time involuntarily. Also, the tree implies the people who became entangled in the movement unintentionally and experienced the trauma. As time goes on, those memories become blurred and deteriorate while their spirit and the truth never change.

Untitled

Oil and Pen on Paper

22 x 30 inches 

2022

Untitled

Pen on Paper

22 x 30 inches 

2022 

Apr 2022 Installation View

Who has the Power 

Acrylic and Paint on Canvas

6 yards x 62 inches

View of Installation at Carnaghi Arts Building in Tallahassee, Florida

2022

This large-size canvas is hanging from the ceiling and divides the space physically. All figures and texts are relevant to the Gwangju Democratization Movement in 1980, South Korea: the helicopter used by the army to fire on citizens, military clothing camouflage patterns, the text asking viewers about “Who has the Power.” The inside of the painting painted in black brings up the image of a dark classroom where I witnessed brutal scenes of the movement from a documentary as a middle school student. The audience faces the question and figures of the painting in the bright background (outside of the painting). Around the corner, they would face the black inside of the painting and become overwhelmed by weird feelings because of the opposite experiences in the same painting. Through this installation work, I want to share my strange feelings with the viewers physically and emotionally.

About a thing

View of Installation at Carnaghi Arts Building in Tallahassee, Florida

April 2022

     In a broad sense, there are various types of chairs ranging from a sofa to a stool. Although a stool is defined as one type of chair, it has a different appearance. The difference between a chair and a stool is that a chair typically has at least a backrest and sometimes with an armrest while a stool does not. I mostly prefer a chair because it is more comfortable than a stool.

 

There was the chair that I remember: it was very uncomfortable, even though the chair had a backrest and it was not a stool. When I was in middle school, the classroom had chairs made of wood and steel. The faded, slightly rusty, and dark silver-colored steel was bent to support the seat. The backrest of the chair is made of ocher wooden boards. Its wooden parts were uncomfortably hard and its steel parts were too cold so I felt unpleasant whenever my bare arms and legs touched the chair.

 

One day, when I was sitting on a chair, a teacher asked us to close the curtains instead of teaching regular class subjects. Then, the teacher said, “Now you guys are grown up enough, you should know about this.” We watched a cruel documentary—citizens fired upon, killed, and beaten by government troops—together. Some students cried or left the classroom. I was frozen on the chair. The actual incident was shocking to me because the fact was too cruel to be real, not a movie. That was the first day that I experienced Gwangju Democratization Movement as a second-hand experience because I never participated in the actual Gwangju Democratization movement. I felt so overwhelmed that I felt as if I was in the middle of the movement.

 

On that day, the discomfort from the experience and feelings from the violence of the documentary totally overwhelmed the discomfort that the cold and hard chair usually gives me. In my memory, the chair was as dark as the curtained classroom was. But, it was a sunny day. On that day, I was fragile and was sitting on the dark dark chair.

그것에 관하여

설치

2022

     넓은 의미에서 의자는 소파부터 스툴까지 다양한 종류가 있다. 비록 스툴이 의자의 한 종류로 규정되지만, 스툴은 다른 형태를 지닌다. 의자와 스툴 사이에 다른 점은 스툴은 그렇지 못한 반면, 의자는 적어도 일반적으로 등받이와 가끔은 팔걸이를 지니고 있다는 점이다. 나는 대부분 스툴보다 의자가 더 편하기에 의자를 선호한다.

내가 기억하는 한 의자가 있었다: 그것은 스툴이 아닌 등받이를 지닌 의자였음에도 불구하고 매우 불편했다. 내가 중학교 때, 교실에는 철과 나무로 만들어진 의자가 있었다. 그 바래고 약간은 녹슨, 어두운 은색으로 이루어진 철은 의자 좌석을 지지하도록 구부러져 있었고, 의자의 등받이는 황토색 나무 판자로 이루어져 있었다. 그 의자의 나무 부분은 불편하게 딱딱하고 철 부분은 내 맨 다리와 팔이 의자에 닿을 때 마다 기분 나쁘게 너무 차가웠다.

​어느 날, 내가 그 의자에 앉아있었을 때, 한 선생님이 우리 반으로 들어왔다. 선생님은 교과목을 가르치는 대신에 우리에게 반의 커튼을 닫으라고 이야기했다. 그리고 선생님은 말했다, "자 이제 너네도 충분히 컸으니, 이것에 대해 알아야 한다." 우리는 다함께 잔혹한 다큐멘터리를 보았다-군대에 의해 시민들이 죽고 밟혀나갔다. 어떤 학생들은 울었고 어떤 학생들은 교실을 나갔다. 나는 의자에서 움직일 수 없었다. 그 사건은 영화라고 보기에는 너무나 잔혹한 실제였기에 나에게 큰 충격이었다. 그날이 내가 실제로는 참여하지 않은 광주 민주화 운동을 간접적으로 체험한 첫번째 날이었다. 나는 내가 만약 그 운동 한 가운데에 있었다면 어땠을지를 느끼며 심한 압도감을 느꼈다.

그날, 그 다큐멘터리의 폭력성으로 인한 감정과 간접적 경험으로 인한 불편함은 평소에 그 딱딱하고 차가운 의자가 나에게 주던 불편함을 완전히 압도했다. 내 기억 속의 그 의자는 그 커튼이 쳐졌던 교실만큼 어두웠다. 하지만 그날은 무척 화창한 날이었다. 어둡게 쳐진 커튼 사이로 자그마한 햇살이 교실로 들어왔다. 그날, 나는 연약한 존재였고, 어둡고도 어두운 의자에 앉아 있었다.

Who has the Power, Acrylic and Paint on Canvas, 6 yards x 62 inches/ 5.5 m x 160 cm, 2022

Untitled, Steel and Fabric, Life-size chair, desk, and flag, 2022

Who has the Power: Scratch Off 

Acrylic, Printmaking, and Mixed Media on Papers

21 x 19 inches

2021

People buy scratch-off tickets because they expect good fortune. Before people scratch one, they never know what their fortune is. The interesting point is that the result of scratch-off is predetermined no matter what people expect as their fortune. When viewers scratch off this artwork, they would face the uncomfortable and direct question of “Who has the Power” hidden under the thin silver color. Through the question, the viewers are asked to contemplate who “really” has the power. The question is already answered by the Constitution of the Republic of Korea (in Korean): 

 

CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF KOREA, CHAPTER I GENERAL PROVISIONS, Article 1

(1) The Republic of Korea shall be a democratic republic.

(2) The sovereignty of the Republic of Korea shall reside in the people, and all state authority shall emanate from the people.

 

It sounds like the obvious answer. But it might depend on the expectation of the person who scratches off.

Who has the Power

Acrylic, Printmaking, and Mixed Media on Paper, 22 x 30 inches/ 56 x 76 cm, 2021