When did you first discover Mongyudowondo, and why was it pertinent to you?
It's been a long time since I've known about Mongyudowondo. It’s a well-known painting in Korea, especially for those who studied art. Currently, Mongyudowondo is in the collection of a university in Japan and cannot be seen in Korea. A few years ago, my interest in multi- perspectives led me to find this painting again, and I was mesmerised by it, in which the story of a dream was mixed with the real and the ideal.
In an exhibition at Atelier Hermès last year, I worked through the poems by Yi Sang, a Korean poet in the 1930s during the Japanese colonial period, and experimented with rethinking the present through the past as a spectrum. Attempts to shift the temporal axis or diversify the viewpoints allowed me to discover the possibility of an anti-perspectival thinking beyond the dichotomous paradigm of modernity.
Yi was perhaps the most famous avant-garde writer of the colonial era. In his work he experimented with language, interiority, separation from inside one's self as well as the outer world. His poems, particularly, were influenced by Western literary concepts including Dadaism and Surrealism. Yi's history in architecture influenced his work, which often included the languages of mathematics and architecture including, lines, dots, number systems, equations and diagrams.
His literary legacy is punctuated by his modernist tendencies evinced throughout his oeuvre. His poems reveal the desolate internal landscape of modern humanity and, as in “Crow's eye view poem”, utilize an anti-realist technique to condense the themes of anxiety and fear. His stories disjoint the form of traditional fiction to show the conditions of the lives of modern people. “Wings", for example, utilizes a stream-of-consciousness technique to express these conditions in terms of the alienation of modern people, who are fragmented commodities unable to relate to quotidian (daily) realities.
CLICK HERE to read more about Yi Sang's poetry