I have been collecting and hand-shredding silk flowers for ten years as a primary source of my work. My initial discovery of silk flowers was at cemeteries, where the silk flowers were often discarded after windy or rainy days, plucked away from their dedicated placements for those who have passed. During the process of collecting and deconstructing these silk flowers to unrecognizable pigment-like materials for my installations, I accumulate gestures of repetition as a meditation on loss, trauma, impermanence, assimilation, and redemption.
In my practice, I rematerialize traditional textiles to construct a personal ritual of mourning and remembering. My floor installations with hand-shredded silk flowers started as an act of replicating my mother’s wedding blanket pattern—seck-dong, a traditional textile pattern in Korea that embodies “praying for happiness” or “driving out bad luck.’’ Performative iterations of my floor sketches and installations act as my temporary alters and formal investigations of materiality and visuality.
Often, my installations are performed in public space and the labor is visually and physically shared with the audience. Such experiences stretch one’s understanding of the temporal process of labor. My practice has introspective and public dimensions that overlap disciplines in installation, performance, collaboration, storytelling, and meditation. The particular process of recreating a carpet-like, unadhered floor installation in a monumental scale speaks to the notion of ephemerality and permanence of cultural memories passed down from generation to generation. I utilize my personal inheritance of Korean heirlooms as an intervention into the idea of diasporic identity and its complexity.
I am interested in constructing a visual and emotional space where narratives of labor and loss reside. Through the act of making, I ask myself what it means for an individual, a community, or a nation to be held together by stories, yearnings, rituals, and spirituality, which are ephemeral and rich like the hand-shredded silk flowers.
My work embodies the constant potentiality of rupture and violence enacted on one’s body, land, and history, and acknowledges the presence of irreconcilability that runs through my body, family, homeland, and places where I reside. My specificity becomes inevitable material in articulating the nuanced, subtle experiences of unspoken personal and collective memories in subversive beauty and formalism.