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도경(到耿) Glittering Pathway

Toward the Road of Lights

-An evening with Wonsuk Han

Taeman Choi  _  Prof. Kookmin University

WonSuk Han, after announcing a plan to turn  a  parking place of an apartment complex on a hill  of Geumho-dong into a studio and focus on making art, disappeared one day. I wondered how he would surprise me as a master of disappearing and appearing. As I expected, he appeared with a big surprise. He got a visa for artists in UK and turned a parking place of a rich and secluded  village in London into a studio. He was living and working at the studio. It was really surprising to live in London, one of the most expensive cities in the world, eating and living even without a toilet at the cost lower than the minimum cost of living. He told that he is using the toilet at the clubhouse of a tennis court for residents. As you see, he has an unusual talent.


I though he was working in London, but he invited me to the old town of Busan one day. This time, he was in Sinchang-dong near Yongdu Mountain Park telling stories of the modern history of Korea. Theaters flourished  in Jung-gu of Busan for a while . I was one of cinema kids of Busan, spending holidays at Daeyoung Theater, Kukje Theater, Dongmyoung Theater and Jeil Theater in 1970s. As a teenager, I lived in Jin-gu of Busan so it was a special event for me to visit Nampo-dong in holidays. WonSuk Han, a graduate of Daesin Elementary School, might roam around this area. The spot  I and he share d special memories has become the hub of films, which makes Busan the city of films. WonSuk Han built an artwork carrying lights at his nostalgic place.


The artwork titled “Dokyung” is located at a parking place in front of the Sinchang-dong Branch of Busan Bank, which was once the headquarters of the Bank. He must have tried hard to build an artwork meeting expectations and embodying meanings of three actors: finance (Busan Bank), culture (the street of films) and public administration (urban regeneration). He finally completed Dokyung as an illuminating path and the light-hitting road.


He used his favorite material, Danpalon, to make this artwork, which is an architectural sculpture standing in front of Busan Bank. Sensuous elements like points, lines, faces and colors were physically displaced  with metal, plastic and lights. His metaphor of Busan Bank was completed with the sleek surfaces and the color palette combining red and dark brown, and the architectural function of a parking place and the function as a venue for small-sized cultural events were also considered.


The structural shapes with straight lines and diagonal lines adding tensions and variety embodied simplified, geometric forms of flames. Individually the pieces of the artwork look  unstable, but as a mass, they interact and support themselves. Dokyung, soaring like flames in a complicated and somewhat decayed setting with a lot of old buildings, which we can see in old towns of any cities, adds energy to the old town, even if it is not a landmark .


This large-sized artwork that is 77.2m in circumference and 23m in height is not interpreted with a single meaning. Like his life itself, I hope this artwork in the border of architecture and arts will contribute to transformation of this place into the area for arts, while giving aesthetic value to the town


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