I don’t care about Han’s past because he is a cheerful person who can easily make bright atmosphere. I am not sure maybe the year of 2003 or 20
04, the second half of the initiative period of 798, he was bursting through my office in 798 to meet me.
So to speak, we met before at the opening of B.T.A.P (Beijing Tokyo Art Project) 798 in 2002. As I remember he was one of Japanese contemporary art group of visitors after that he was a owner of space in 798. In 2005 when I visited his studio in Korea, he was an architect was planning museum. It seems that he often visits Beijing this year 2008 he came back with his new installation art work.
What such a possibility in this rapid changing global economic society! Han’s work offers opportunity to people who have been addicted to the way of products surrounded by consuming culture. A range of consciousness from his work looks big differently in vary spheres but is in relation with continually happening surroundings. People in depress of consuming firstly decoding works then moves into the stage of the power of influences finally go beyond to a kind of tension what is being in space as they experience. Through this process, the ability of decoding and combining of meanings can reach to another creative possibility in its realm.
It is very obvious how Han organized information in his work. Structuring work needs imaginary basics however he has been as architect (Maybe he will be being free between art and architect forever.) so his imagination comes true on the basis of architectural knowledge and skill. In developing his creative idea, he mainly uses his imagination as a logical channel and makes progress with practical elements gained from eliminating original technological function of materials. This is his inartistic baldness, is passion and is very independent his characters. His work is impossible without these factors.
His work ‘rebirth after abandonment -the Bell’ shows his flexibility in terms of features mentioned above.
My view regard to his work is bit different from others. Most of all it is so beautiful. Its figure inherits traditional form. And we can feel eternal sound from its majestic appearance. Chinese often says when they describe sound like ‘historical echo’. In another, ‘Yo Liang Sam Il’ which is an idiom means sonorous and high singing sound goes around for so long and doesn’t seem to like to stop. In fact, there is some kind of impression that Chinese real sound in history such a restless sound has been already chastened almost perfectly. In this sense, I actually envy traditional Korean rhythm they’ve got. Korean style o f beat is various. They can correspond with time, space, nature, environment, man, woman, seniors, juniors, joy, anger, sorrow and pleasure any kinds of it can put and take. If Han’s idea was whether represent historical sound or express artistic sound incorporated with history, anyhow it’s same. Because they are all melt and very naturally dissolved with strong confident Han himself or his history.
Huang Rui _ Art director of 798 dasanzi, 2008
’ For whom the bell tolls _ Recirth after abandonment'
Han Won-Suk is a remarkable artist in contemporary art. The installation for this exhibition Hyeong-Yeon “泂然” borrows rubbishes produced by excessive culture of present consuming society. He represents the artwork by re-constructing these discarded materials. Rubbishes have been interpreted as a wide-open concept depends on the situation of each era. These rubbishes attempt the environmental communication between human and nature, and the periodical communication between past and present. In Han’s work, rubbish is not only that realistic object but also a suggestion of a new meaning and form. It will also widen the new pathway of visual and auditory language in such artwork.
Collected 3088 speakers have been gathered to concrete the historical shape and value of the great King of Sung Duk’s Bell. (Height 3.7m, Width 2.3m) The technology such as durable steel structure and piled up speakers expand a formative art into architectural engineering. Besides, scientific studies such as LED lights, wiring connections have been added as another important factor as a part of electronic engineering. This is a realization of interdisciplinary study with adjacent field over the simple formative working process. The sound of each speaker means the vibration of the bell and it agree with the auditorial function of Sung Duk’s bell. (Sung Duk’s Bell was the biggest bell in the world when it was presented in A.D. 771).
Through the whole procession, the speakers are made into art being free from its given function and finally acquire the aesthetic value creating its own meaning.
Hyeong Yeon “泂然” gives a shape to the abject value that has been lost its original function. Also it opens a chance to awaken people in modern society about precious values that have been shared in our ordinary life.
Huand Du _ Curator, 2008
Originally from an architecture background, Wonsuk Han has always a fascination with found and useless objects and rubbish. For his first solo exhibition, The flowers of evil, Han created flowers from over 100,000 cigarette butts. Taking dirty, smelly cigarette butts and turning them into fragrant flowers was an act of reincarnation of sorts.
The play between the beautiful and the trashy is what led Han to explore the world of garbage art. It is of note that even the Korean term ‘ssreaggi’, or garbage is something that was created fairly recently. A century ago, there was no need for the term because houses, clothes and other daily necessities were all made of plants, wood, stone, clay or other natural materials that could be easily recycled in some fashion. In addition, food refuse could be made into fertilizer or fed to pigs. The country was one without rubbish in any capacity. Even tobacco was cultivated naturally and rolled without materials the would become cigarette butts. Now cigarettes are prepared with chemicals in such a way that they give about five minutes of pleasure before being thrown away. Han`s second solo exhibition, an installation entitled Rebirth recreates the Silla dynasty observatory from the year 1374 known as Rebirth using 1,374 discarded headlights collected over a year from over 50 different junkyards.
The piece Resonance carries on in this tradition by using between 1800 and 3200 trashed speakers to recreate a historic bell, completed in 771, known as ‘Emille’. The artist explains that the sound of the Emille bell lives in his heart. After time and even in another place, the bell`s sound stays with us. Han seeks to take this memorable timelessness of the Emille bell and juxtapose the temporary nature of the consumer culture that discarded the speaker used to make Han`s bell. This juxtaposition creates new situations and artistic conditions.
While the exterior of the work resembles the original bell, it is not a copy. If Han duplicated the superficial resemblance of the bell at the Kyoung ju Muse um the meaning is simple, and has a single interpretation. The sound and meaning of the original bell could never be duplicated. While having the overt appearance of the bell with a minimal bell base, the sound is different and a paradox is presented. Past and present, time and place, are all contained in this bell, which while conceptually loaded is visually light.
HyungTak JUNG_ Busan Biennale Curator, 2008