Find Inner Peace Through Art
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Find Inner Peace Through Art
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  • 승인 2003.05.07 00:00
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Exhibit Brings Together Works That Heal The Soul
Feeling trapped and worn out by society"s standards that constantly demand more competition at improved speeds in an all-out effort to achieve success, people have started turning their attention inward. Perhaps since the early 90s, words like meditation, relaxation, yoga, and Zen have thus become quite the fad.

Ho-Am Gallery in Seosomun is the latest to pick up on the search for inner peace by hosting an exhibition titled "Mind Space." The show, due to close on May 11, seeks to return art to what the participating artists believe is its intrinsic purpose­the purifying of emotions and easing of the soul.

Appropriately enough, the entrance to the gallery leads into a dark room through a black corridor. In the room, nothing is visible for about four minutes. Then, a streak of radiant light sneaks into the room from the wall, a recreation of the flash-like light that people see when they close their eyes. The experience is nothing other than "What Waits," a piece by James Turrell, an artist renowned for his innovative use of light. Though the struggle to see the work is interesting, the image that appears in the black room is not particularly pleasing. It is as if art disregarded appreciation of beauty as a means of introspection, making it a bit challenging to appreciate this otherwise novel route in the journey inward.

Minimal use of material soon gives way to a massive use of something sooner expected at a culinary show: beeswax. Two tons of it were used by German artist Wolfgang Laib in his "Beeswax Chamber." Laib collected the beeswax with his own hands for the pieces that fill up an entire exhibit room. The Egyptian tomb-like chamber leads one person at a time through a narrow corridor. The visitor can fill her lungs with the scent of honey, open up all her senses, and contemplate the beauty of nature and life.

Ewha Professor U Sunok is one of two Korean artists who participated in this exhibition. Her work, "Warm Wall," is a pure white blown-up wall that mimics the contours of a mother"s belly. The piece is heated at the same temperature as that of the human body, embracing one"s exhausted soul with a motherly comfort. Time seems to fade away in this womb-like construction.

But time that slips by can have a disturbing effect on people, especially if it takes away their treasured moments. Philippine artist Lani Maestro also wants to hold on to her memories. Maestro spent a lot of her youth in a humid environment, teeming with mosquitoes. Perhaps in an effort to help recapture those memories, she uses mosquito nets to create "Cradle," a dreamy vision made of nets hanging down from the wall. The visitor"s memories are the intended prey of these time traps.

"Art that penetrates into people"s minds has been abandoned for being too abstruse," says Ahn So-yeon, the senior curator of Samsung Museum. However, she believes that this kind of art must be led back into the mainstream contemporary art. "These works certainly serve as alternative spaces that can relieve people"s tired souls," she adds. Stepping out of the gallery and being immediately thrown back on the asphalt road, one might feel stifled by the bustling crowds and cars passing by. Still, it is comforting to know of a place that soothes and eases tensions, instructs and inspires the mind and the soul.

arielle@ewha.ac.kr

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