Bo Kim <아로새기다, When Light is Put Away>
When the day passes by and the light is put away at night, I solely spend time for myself. I peacefully end the day by remembering the view of the skyline on my way to the studio, sunset along the river, leaves breezing through the wind, rays of sunshine through branches, trees seen through the window, and recalling the conversation and evoked thoughts and emotions that I had with others. The day is engraved in my mind by recollecting the scenery of nature through pictures and words.
In the previous series: Imperfection, I valued the beauty of imperfection, which contains a meaning of respecting nature by accepting natural forms in Korean traditional culture. A state of imperfection proposes a value of the progressive search for a perfect, unreachable state. Impermanence, an idea from Buddhism, states that nothing on this earth is ever free and everything always changes and alternates. I embrace the meaning of one dissolving into another through a perpetual process of cause and effect. The characteristics of incompleteness and decay complete the painting. The notion of incompleteness evokes my core spiritual practice of accepting impermanence.
Whereas the Imperfection series focused on the meditative practice and accepting the beauty of imperfection, the new series abstractly depicts a personal narrative and emotion while keeping the meditative practice by cutting out hanji and layering them with sand on the canvas. Just as the title ‘아로새기다(a-ro-sae-gi-da) 1. Engrave (carve) elaborately, make an elaborate bas-relief 2. Keeping it clearly in mind’, the daily routine of recording the emotions and thoughts through writing and taking photos has become a gesture of engraving them in my mind. Then, the hues of the time-specific image become the main resource to visualize in the painting.
When I paint on the first layer of hanji, the color gradually softens and becomes lighter as it seeps over time. Painting the first layer is interpreted as recording the vivid memories of the day. The added layers of the thin and delicate texture of hanji create a foggy and washed away effect, representing the fading memories and emotions. The gesture of painting another layer over the hanji symbolizes recollecting the fading memories. Ultimately, by the time I finish placing the multiple layers of hanji, the color of the hanji gradually fades away, similar to the thoughts, events, and emotions that slowly fade away from my mind.
I make art to keep a meditative practice and engrave and express my personal emotion like writing a diary. As Carl R. Rogers mentioned, “What is most personal is most universal.” By sharing something personal through a visualized work of meditation to the audience, I seek to provide a relaxing yet serious opportunity where the viewers and I can meditate and have an introspective moment. The work becomes a visual metaphor of my mind as it progressively searches for who I am and thus achieves serenity, relief, and peacefulness.