Since childhood, I envisioned objects as having multiple functions. I would dismantle a storybook and reassemble it to create different narratives. I became interested in art when a designer showed me how abstract ideas materialize through art. In subsequent years, I was fortunate to be invited to participate in major exhibitions for emerging artists in South Korea, Japan and China. In 2004, I was selected for an exhibition entitled The Garden of Forking Paths in Seoul, which was based on an eponymous novel by Jorge Borges. I installed shaped canvases to connect between the space within the canvas and the exhibition space, and utilized mirrors to draw the spectator’s moment-in-time and movements into my painting. The exhibit offered me an opportunity to share my ideas with a broader audience, and received excellent reviews, which gave me the motivation to further experiment in the medium of painting.
Borges’ The Garden posits the existence of alternative realities, and time is not singular and sequential but rather occurs as diverging, converging and parallel. These relativist and post-structuralist concepts of multiple dimensions relate to multi-layered images in my work with an emphasis on memory. If Surrealists depict the unconscious, or dream world outside of conscious reality, my images visualize the psychoanalytic recording of the association process, and reverie that occur in our daily lives. It evokes not only the idea that one dimension is linked to another, but that consciousness itself is illogical, multi-faceted, and fragmented. In this sense my painting surfaces are a hypertext that exists on multiple layers of dimensional planes, and open-ended.
My intention is to evoke and visualize the world in memory in which we find familiarity in a strange space, and unfamiliarity in mundane space. There is an Korean tale that illustrates this in-between state of reverie: “Long ago, a man dreamed that he was a butterfly. He was elated as a butterfly--well pleased with himself, his aims satisfied. He knew nothing of his being a man. But, shortly thereafter, he awoke and found himself to be a man. He did not know whether as a man, he dreamed he was a butterfly, or whether as a butterfly, he dreamed he was a man.” It is this in-between state of reverie, outside of our logical mind that I try to evoke in my art.