Bae Young-whan

b. 1969. Lives and works in Seoul. Bae Young-whan works both in international exhibition venues and public art scenes. His artworks include Pop Song, The Way of Man, Insomnia, Pocketbook for the Homeless?On the Street, Library Project?Tomorrow to provide movable container libraries for culturally-alienated regions. After the solo exhibition “Autonumina” (2010), Bae has released a series of new artworks that interpret fundamental problems with human beings and society as well as traditional culture.

Autonumina?Ten Thousand Years’ Sleep, Seonbawi Inwang Mountain, 2010?2014
Courtesy the artist and Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art
Installation of celadon objects on wooden shelves, dimensions variable
In Inwang Mountain, Seoul, the sacred and the secular live together. The past and present coexist. Both ideas and reality stay together while soldiers, shamans, hikers and Buddhist monks get along with one another. Even political conspiracies and religions have left their marks there. The souls of the mountain and people meet on the rocks of Inwang Mountain. Spiritual nourishment for totems and shamans; hatred, reconciliation, fear and sympathy grow with those rocks as their background.
Inwang Mountain has traces of Korea’s native religions and beliefs, ranging from mountain worship and rock totems of the ancient times to Confucianism, Buddhism and Zen Buddhism. Also, there are apartments and military camps at the foot of the mountain. Like fossils, Inwang Mountain compressively captures ideologies of the ruling class and common people. The mountain is huge but paradoxically a miniature where the history of Korean spirits, politics and customs coexist.
For this exhibition, I display an installation of photographic and video images of Inwang Mountain combined with the existing artwork Autonumina. I wanted to show a complex map of our awareness through this work. It seems like the printed brain waves or the mountain of Bodhisattvas described in folk paintings. This installation seems a walk to search for our spiritual habitat while peeking around Inwang Mountain, the place where ideas of Lao-tzu, the Buddha, Dangun (the legendary founding father of the first Korean state), mountain gods and shamans have lived together. [Bae Young-whan]