A giant city nestled amid mountain ranges with a very wide and blue Han river flowing right through the heart of it – that’s Seoul. We stayed at a place near Hongdae University, a bustling youthful part of the town full of restaurants music and colorful young people. A 40 minute bus ride from Hongdae was CICA museum surrounded by paddy fields, high-rises and mega stores conveniently fitted with Starbucks Coffee.
The food and forms of expression gives you a peek into the heart of a place. Varied and complex the food was always delicious! Tunes of songs floating out of restaurants and cafés mostly had a pleasant 101.9 FM sound to it. Leejin Kim compared a discussion between myself and the collaborative artists. The discussion led to a perfect synthesis of ideas between two different cultures, two different places and two different age groups.
Nara Lee (이나라), mentioned her works as reminiscent of her childhood spending time outdoors in parks and jungle gyms as opposed to children today who spend majority of the time on their electronic devices.
C2’s (탄소) work comprising of shots from a post-concert party of upturned furniture, crushed beer cans, drugs etc. the concert she went to see was called Rainbow. Her very first exposure to adolescent fun!
Mark Yang’s (양윤석). work was the most complex and somewhat abstract, he mentioned that his art was a way of coping with the challenges he faced in real life.
When asked about my works in the solo show and the significance of Mickey and the NYC subway sign ‘ when you see something say something‘ I discussed the starkness that is incorporated into a child’s world in many parts of the globe today. How children cope with dire situations and are resilient to shocks that have become part and parcel of their lives in many places. The subway warning put in place primarily as a means to fight terrorist activities also are a familiar sight today, to which we don’t even raise an eyebrow. Please don’t burst my Bubble – a photograph of a child lunging to touch a giant bubble in Central Park, Red, Brown and Blue, a story of my own journey of displacement, embracing and assimilation into a new culture. This show is meant to remind us of the importance of keeping dreams alive. When Borim Lee (이보림), an artist of his own merit, asked why my works were so dark? I was caught quite by surprise and only managed to say, “that’s just how it is!”
Last but not the least, all of this exchange of ideas was possible because of the superb translation and amicable personality of Leejin Kim, the gallery director, UPenn graduate currently residing between DC and Seoul. Leejin, herself a conceptual artist, is now working on starting a branch of CICA near about NYC or DC.