Flower of Evil
2003.07.01 _ 21
Gallery Artside _ Seoul _ Korea
(L) Front side (R) Back side
73,000 ea Cigarette butts _ 192 x 215 cm, 2002
100,000 CIGARETTE BUTTS
The summer’s flower is to the summer sweet,
Though to itself it only live and die,
But if that flower with base infection meet,
The basest weed outbraves his dignity:
For sweetest things turn sourest by their deeds;
Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds.’
Wonsuk Han elegantly navigates the knifeedge between pleasure and disgust with this paradoxical work. We are seduced by the pleasing colours and forms initially presented to us. We draw near and are disturbed by an ominous smell - pleasure turns to disgust as we inspect what lies behind the beautiful facade. Wonsuk Han’s mastery of materials has enabled him to construct a powerful work which provokes a visceral response from the viewer. We cannot but react to the betrayal of our expectations, as Shakespeare pointed out several centuries ago. The burnt, disintegrating ends of the cigarettes stand as a powerful metaphor for death and disease. Wonsuk Han asks us to confront our humanity, not to condemn our weaknesses but to bear witness to our frailty. We realize that each of these cigarette has been smoked by a human addicted to nicotine, who engages with both pleasure and destruction in the act of smoking. We feel the pathos of what it is to be human.
(L) Front (R) Back
He made a collection of cigarette butts, which people from all over the world at the airport. (Heathrow airport, UK)
What the environment is?
Everything surrounding myself and I’m also an environment to others. However, consuming culture started to grant a value to everything exist and made a theory that the human is the most of worth. Therefore, human-first theory and individualism succeed to the deterioration of the human itself. The love and family are no more protected from the social desire.
This is a basic concept and a start of my work.
Consciousness by shock is my device of message. Here, we have a splendid flower painting. However, this is just looking, not a truth. On the other side, the truth is a lump of 73,000 cigarette butts. Huge amount of people, probably more than 300,000.
I appreciate for people who helped me by investing their 5minutes time and money and I hope to compensate for it. Shock and Consciousness!! I want to show the truth of it. To the people who became slaves of consuming culture, who are mad about the individualism and who lost their value of the Environment.
From Wonsuk Han artist note
Installation view _ Gallery Artside, 2003