Stacking is known to be one of Korean’s oldest cultural traditions.
On mountains and nature paths in Korea, people will often come across stone towers. Each stone is meticulously piled up by strangers and contains the various wishes that they’ve made. In everyday life, Koreans put on extravagant birthday celebrations for a baby’s 1st birthday as well as a person’s 60th. One of the enduring traditions of these birthday celebrations is to stack colorful candies, rice cakes, fruits, and other precious foods.
This custom of stacking has stemmed largely from the hopes that people will live a prosperous and healthy life.
We often describe time as “blurring.” However, I think of time as being stacked. Every moment, day and year accumulates. This is how the present becomes the future, and the future evolves into another future. It is within these stacked times that our memories start to fade and only a few snippets are left behind in our minds. The shape of the layered memories eventually change and the truths we experienced warp into a different form.
I witness the evolving shapes of memory and time in the everyday objects that are fruits and flowers. As time passes, these fruits and flowers change forms due to the lack of water. An apple’s skin starts to wrinkle as it starts to dry. Then, the skin folds with the wrinkles and eventually, caves in. This process is how I think of time.
As I depict the way objects and memories change forms, I’m far from pursuing the emptiness and ephemeralness of life. Rather, I’m constantly filled with the imagery of stacked fruits at a newborn baby’s first birthday festivities.
Although the still life objects in my work are visually deformed and in poor conditions, the concept behind these withered items is to show the effects of how time has accumulated. This series begs contemplation around the idea of withering and fading away.