Wonsuk Han, Beautiful and True Records of Struggle with Passion
- Jin-seok Seo (Founder of alternative space LOOP, Former Director of Nam June Paik Art Center)
The world is not fair.
Inequality exists from birth, and we are never given equal opportunities in our lives.
Some people often miss out on valuable opportunities they encounter in the course of life while wasting their time grumbling and resenting unfair life. If not ready, ten chances pass unnoticed, but if ready, you can grab a chance and make a great accomplishment out of it.
Wonsuk Han is one of the most energetic people I have ever met. He is a creative person who bravely makes himself by overcoming challenges posed by the unfair world and insecure human being. This energetic and passionate artist has proved himself beautifully as a creative human being in the face of an unfair society. He was always ready to create his own opportunities not only in art but also in other social arenas, not blaming unfavorable situations he faced.
His energy and enthusiasm for creativity has been prominent in many areas. It's been more than 15 years since I met him. Since young, probably because he has itchy feet, he has been around the world engaging in many different activities. When I first met him, he was running a gallery called “Connection” in China, where I organized an exhibition called “Banana Surfer” to promote the cultural exchange of Korean and Chinese artists. In the middle of harsh land of Beijing, China at the time, he was almost the first Korean who opened a gallery.
“I was born into poverty. I have nothing but my body, passion, and persistence. I don’t adapt myself to the world but craft the world on my own. I abandon shyness and self-consciousness to realize my ideal. Just when a creative idea occurs to me, I immediately execute it and push myself into it", he said. Frankly, I must confess that his passion for art through practice has significantly influenced my art career and caused a bit of envy.
As an artist, exhibition organizer, architect, and art marketer, he has made artistic achievements in different fields as diverse as his life journey. He once devoted himself to creating a wonderful piece of art by using waste and trash thrown away by people. It was a meaningful endeavor through which abandoned objects after losing their intended purpose are reborn and given new life, and provided an opportunity to recognize their value.
His work Resonance made from a collection of 3,088 wasted speakers was staged at the Daejong Film Festival. Now, he lives in the UK and is working on architecture projects back and forth between the UK and Korea. Throughout his diverse creative career, he has never been complacent in what he did or too overwhelmed, but strived to create a meaningful interface between his extremely personal art work and the society we live in through continuous social engagement.
Martin Heidegger, a German existentialist philosopher, unlike other philosophers who questioned about nature or the nature of mind, proposed my existence, in other words, a life centered on me. He called a being who exists in reality "existence", and I, as an existing entity, live not outside the world but "being-in-the-world”. The philosopher also said that a human being cannot be separated from the world and everything in the world exists in a relationship based on instrumental value for the purpose of each other. For this reason, mortality only leads us to the essence of true “existence” away from this relationship. Since mortality is true being, existence means suffering from inevitable anxiety and pain. So, we cannot be until eternity free from unidentifiable feeling of insecurity that dominates our life. In fears and anxieties through live, people constantly try to find their true identity by doing something about themselves. Artists are those who ceaselessly try to sublimate the insecurities and nihility that are the essence of human existence into creative art. In fact, most of such work will end up in painful defeat, and like Sisyphus we have no choice but to take another heavy step after losing again.
Wonsuk Han has released a book compiling beautiful and true records of his struggle against anxieties and fears with stronger enthusiasm than anyone else. It is a great honor for me to be able to take a small part in his record, and I want to convey my boundless trust and support in the unknown road he will travel in the future.