A digital archive of Asian/Asian American contemporary art history

Her Room (The Woman Story 5)

cotton, cotton cloth

"An Boon-Sun.
I am not sure her name was An Boon-Sun. At that time in Korea people didn’t call women by their names. So that means that they might have called her by the name of the place she was coming from or by her child’s name, if she was a mother, or by some other characteristic that made up her identity and gave her a role in the society she lived in.

Fist time I met her in 1998, through a picture. My grandfather pointed her to me. She was holding a baby in her arms. Standing on the last row, on the left corner among her relatives; mothers, husbands, children, grandfathers, etc.

That day when I first saw her my grandfather told me that she was his first wife and the baby in her arms was my father. I didn’t know her till that day. Also at that day I was told that she had passed away when she was 21 years old, just a couple of years after giving birth to my father and my grandfather remarried sometime after her death.

My grandfather was 87 years old, when he asked me, “Is it possible to print just this part of the picture so I can see her face once again?” I did print it out for him. Then I went back to my studio and tried to draw her face; hoping to awake her memory in my own self, perhaps capture some part of her with my drawing.

For the installation:
I built a small room for her. I used cotton because it’s soft and doesn’t separate the space in any harsh way; light goes through it, you can still look inside but of course it’s not so clear, it’s not totally transparent anymore. If you want to see her, you will have to take the narrow pathway between the cotton, walk along the path and perhaps be able to meet her along the way. When you are inside the path, if your eyes happen to cross the eyes of the people outside, you will feel that you are viewed as part of her; by taken the path you allow yourself to become part of herself and naturally herself becomes part of you.
While in your walk hopefully you’ll be able to feel the softness of space, the weightless memories, the timeless light. The whole image, including you, looks like a fainted memory to the outsider.

She is a woman, a piece of natural cotton, a ghost, Buddha, a Jesus, a part of you. "

--Artist Statement, translated by Kiki Denis (writer NYC. USA.)

Her Room (The Woman Story 5)
Source: Digital Image