Yangcheon-gu, Seoul has recently supported many artists to revitalize the local art scene as it has suffered a major blow from Covid-19. Lotus Leaf Stepping Stone, an installation art created by Bora Lee, is the selected work of the "Seoul-MCST(Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism) Public Art Project." This work of art has been installed at a local bridge since June this year. This work compares the characteristics of the bridge, which is submerged when the water level rises, to a stepping stone and expresses it in Light Art. Introduced by a mutual acquaintance in Seoul, we met at the bridge where installation was taking place.
|[Student interviewing with artist Borali.
Photo credit: Photo approved by Song Youngwook director]
Q: Your major works heavily relied on various lines and surfaces in one space, so is there any special reason for that?
A: “The first motivation was simple. When I was in college, I made artworks and exhibited them, and when I saw other students' pieces, they looked big; however, my works looked small. So I wanted to increase the size of the work by using lines and surfaces. In other words, the main material is a thread and I wanted to make a great use of the space of the exhibition. In my artwork, I used knitting to present the process of creation or passage of time. The dots made by knitting work are gathered to form a line, so the lines are made up of cotton. These lines are drawn in space, accumulating time and memory. The work of drawing in a geometric and organic form, which is grandiose but not threatening, delicate but not fragile, is expressed in space.”
Q: What made you proceed with the Yangcheon-gu bridge project? Compared to your previous works, there are different materials and forms in this work, such as lighting. Is there a particular reason for this?
A: “Recently, there has been a difficult time because there was no opportunity to participate in large-scale projects due to the current pandemic. But the Seoul Metropolitan Government helped me carry out this project. The inspiration that helped me start this project starts with my childhood experience. In my childhood, my mother and grandmother told me not to play in the stream when the stepping stones of the stream were flooded. My mother, who grew up near Anyangcheon Stream, told me not to go to the riverside park when submerged in the Sinjeong Jamsugyo Bridge. When it’s dark outside with heavy rain, safety was not guaranteed. The need for a stepping stone is for everyone’s safety. I felt that that time has affected me. Also, Sinjeong Jamsugyo Bridge, the closest bridge to where the citizens live, is a shortcut to and from a local rest area. The work of Lotus Leaf Stepping Stone highlights the characteristics of Sinjeong Jamsugyo Bridge and will enhance its function.”
Q: What is your most memorable show?
A: “All the exhibitions are memorable because all of them were special, and I had a certain message I wanted to convey to people through each of them. Every art display remains as a precious memory.”
Q: Many artists, like other sectors, are involved with occupational health hazards such as spinal issues from bad posture, respiratory diseases from exposure to chemicals and so on. I was worried particularly about your neck when I saw the videos you appeared.
A: “I think my shoulders are worse than my neck. This is because my neck has always been a tech neck. I usually make works of various sizes, large and small, through using thread, and I usually use my wrists and shoulders a lot, which is not good for my joints.”
|[The artist explains what is the main material about this project.
Photo credit. Photo approved by Song Youngwook director]
While interviewing Bora Lee, I took this short but great opportunity to think again about the meaning of the artist's work and a public art project that uses outdoor spaces. In the current two years of pandemic situation, I can see what concerns artists have and how they continue their work. Finally, I hope that they will overcome these hard times with help from the government and society.
The Learning Community International School
Jake Kim firstname.lastname@example.org
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