One day I became a farmer
I used to live in Fort Lee, NJ, a small town next to New York City.
I was working in the city and I received a call from my wife. She was sniveling and she cried out that her mother had passed away. It was April Fools’ Day and I didn’t believe her at first but soon realized that she was veracious. My in-laws live in Busan, Korea, at the city border, the countryside. So we booked the next flight to Busan and flew 15hours. It felt like God was playing a colossal joke on me for April Fools’ Day.
After the funeral I had to make a burdensome decision. My wife was concerned of leaving her father and little brother by themselves in Korea. I had to choose between staying in Busan and taking charge of the farm while supporting the in-laws and going back to the U.S. and living my peaceful life as it was. I slept on it for almost 3 months.
It must have been the power of sadness flowing out from my wife that swallowed my mind because I really don’t remember why I decided to come and live in the countryside and leave my life in the U.S. I think my brain is just blocking that moment and waiting for me to return.
My pleasant life in the U.S. was taken from me by death on a funny day.
The series of works are my form of narrating this story in a ludicrous and melancholy way.
I am practicing the action of denying myself by simulating to ‘VOID’ myself as I go into the trash bag and also actually throwing away my recent art works. The art works represent parts of myself and each work is thrown away as a test in faith and letting go of my pride, greed and things of this earth.
The trash bag and the work inside is actually disposed of on garbage day and documented.
The trash bags with light coming out have no art works inside. It is an act of emptying myself, but showing that there is something that I don’t want to throw out. The light is the Spirit. The lighted trash bags will not be disposed of.
Strangely formed, colored with patterns, equipped with switches, bulbs, relays, etc. Triggering one’s curiosity, one question will lead to another with questions remaining; one will examine the work, without finding any answers.
The unusual looking figures are put on pedestals and shelves so the audience would have to walk up stairs, stand on tiptoe, climb a ladder, or bend down to look at them.
We approach something with curiosity having expectations and if the result isn’t fulfilling, there might be dissatisfaction or frustration. But one might also make an effort to attain a more desirable outcome.
We experience our lives as an endless roll of film continually recording images. Autobiographical memory allows our mind to recollect our past experiences. When retrieving something from the mind, you will notice that sometimes the images and experiences are not that accurate. People remember an experience or image more correctly when there is something of interest to them. An object, person and/or the situation will trigger the mind to recollect the past more accurately.
My work evolves as I recall the past where there is a faded or blurry image of something representative and other continually changing images that are decoded as I try to recollect more. The constantly changing images in the mind are represented with layers of aligned, scratched and painted photographs. The transparent iconic image layer is the representative figure of the moment. And the coating of resin is the act of storage of the recollected memory.
I’m not trying to get deep into psychological theories of the mind. For now I’m creating images of the mind’s act of recollecting the past. The retrieval will continue and the work will evolve with it.
Persona / Self Construed
To live in a society with others, people must possess diverse characters that suit them. In an open but restricted society with rules and regulations, people build up their images as the society wants them to, but there is a subconscious contrasting to the outer image. I am applying Carl G. Jung’s theories of Persona to my works by expressing the differences people have with their inner and external character. People put on masks everyday to act differently to what they really feel in their minds. Some people are exceptional at disguising with their masks, and some people, you can see right through them. The society tells us putting on the right mask for the right person will keep you safe inside the invisible boundary. What kind of persona do you put on?