'I'm always looking for the Hows and the Whys and the Whats,' said Muskrat, 'That is why I speak as I do. You've heard of Muskrat's Much-in-Little, of course?'
'No,' said the child. 'What is it?'
- The Mouse and his Child. Russell Hoban.

Go here to find out more.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

'Saemangeum' Triptych.

Here is my end of year diploma piece, entitled 'Saemangeum'.
It was exhibited with a single page of information that contained more or less the same information as my recent 'Saemangeum' post.
Size of piece: 2760 mm x 610 mm.
Acrylic on canvas.

I'd enjoy getting your comments regarding what you take from this work, and any questions.


  1. I learned as much from the third one as I did from the first two. More, maybe.

    Korean is Greek to me.

  2. Well, Katherine, I have to confess that I have been looking at this on and off for an hour or more and have worked out some of the details but am having a problem because the last of the panels seems almost blank on my screen so I'm wondering if the whole sanctuary for the birds along the base has disappeared. Translating pictorial representations is not my strong point at the best of times (rather like cryptic crosswords) and it may well be that I'll have a better understanding if I a) see it for real and can sit and work things out and b) have some of the words explained. My translation programmes don't seem too happy when it comes to hieroglyphic languages.

  3. PS Was that supposed to be Tamati Coffey in the centre?

  4. I think that if an onlooker was coming to your tryptych totally "blind" and untutored they might struggle to draw meaning from it. However, I have the privilege of knowing that there is much powerful feeling behind this work, indeed not a small amount of anger mixed with sheer frustration. I love the way that you have cleverly utilised the idea of modern whiteboard presentations as a way of making art from the Saemangeum issue. I also noted the birdlife shown on those lower buttons. Was the last screen left blank to hint at the unknown and the possibility that extinction of some species may result from what is happening at Saemangeum? Brilliantly original and unexpected.

  5. Robert. I 'm not sure from your comment just how much you did learn, but yes, the third canvas is integral to the whole, and it's significant that it is so hard to see.

    Geeb. I am pleased you wanted to spend so long looking and thinking about this work.
    The effect of the last canvas being almost blank seems to have been for you to ponder on your reaction to it. This is not unlike me trying to see/ resolve Tove Storch's work, and then ending up looking at my own reaction as part of the intent of the artist.
    I did hope that one of the interpretations would be the feeling that the tidal mudflat was also gone. Perhaps the arriving birds would have the same reaction as you.
    As for it being in Korean, well, I can't read Korean either and I didn't expect many of my viewers to be able to (although it is all genuine. And relevant.). Did you know about the Korean government's plans before I told you? What else do we not know about China? Other countries? Why?

    YP. The name of this work 'Saemangeum' is a critical part of this work. So is the fact sheet, copies of which would be available to viewers to take away with them.
    And you are right about the passion I had when I made it. Interestingly, in the making of it, I have almost (but not quite) moved to a place where the Korean calligraphy now represents a kind to refuge for me. A sort-of 'ignorance is bliss'. Whereas it really should be 'now you know about it, what are you going to do about it?'
    The whiteboard, hopefully, feels that this is a contemporary problem. It's still going on.
    (People have asked me if I know the work of Banksy.)
    And the board is a reference back to 'The Killing Room' theme - the board is, presumably in some room wherein decisions have been made, or at least approved.
    (The '13' refers to the fact that there were thirteen students in this show).
    Thank you everyone so far for your feedback. Any more?

  6. Geeb. The figure is a contemporary Chinese artist who explores the very high rate and effects of urbanisation in China. His name is Chen Shaoxiong.

  7. For me art is something, made with the intention to excite human senses and human spirit. Regarding your artwork only my spirit is excited. I am not sure that was the intention you had in mind, because it is irritation, not understanding what is going on. The last panel being almost blank suggests something is fading away, but what? Never learned the meaning of those symbols you calligraphed. The knobs at the bottom, with bird shapes suggest that I can intervene and maybe then it will be clear !? It certainly is an art piece that draws the attention. Did you already celebrate your degree in art?

  8. Thank you for sharing your reaction Ben. Yes, it is a work that is more 'difficult' than I usually do. I appreciate your comment (and everyone's) as I'm feeling my way here too. Pushing boundaries etc.

    My diploma graduation is next week. We will celebrate afterwards!

  9. Katherine, I wasn't trying to be flippant, but maybe I came across that way. I have always admitted that I know very little about art. Without the benefit of your earlier post, I would have known nothing at all about Saemangeum and your artwork would have seemed just a depiction of a classroom lecture somewhere in the Far East. But I do grasp some of the emotion that motivated you to create this piece.

  10. I just thought puzzled, not flippant, Robert. S'ok.

    I am aware that people need the name and some background. And that is part of the intention.

    Without information, does something exist for us?
    And once we do know about it, what do we do with the information then? And if it's in Korean,(or Greek) does it make any difference to us? To the godwits?

  11. Elizabeth3.12.10

    Like all but one of your commentators here, I have not had privilege to have an ongoing dialogue with you about it, but then you state that neither did your visitors to the exhibition - that their only point of extraneous information was the name and the fact sheet. Not having YP's private tutorials does not detract from the piece in any way, whatsoever. There is an elegance and clarity about the work that whilst, at first, seemingly belies the passion underpinning it, is thought provoking and illuminative and that coupled with the fact sheet and choice of title is more than enough. The sparseness particularly of the last panel speaks volumes to me. There is a despair and a yearning about it that both comes from the artist and provokes an emotional response within the viewer. I particularly like the 'cleanliness' of the monochramatic lines standing in sharp contrast to the 'uncleanliness' of the subject matter. The Korean calligraphy is absolutely exquisite.
    Those who simply view your work in your blog have been given a very privileged oversight of many of your moods and varied talents as an artist. Others have had the privilege of 'communicating with you in other ways' and have, no doubt got to see even deeper into your extraordnary giftings.YP once put in a comment box that you were a 'so clever artist' and so you are.That is blatantly clear to all of us.
    I am aware that the last few weeks have been difficult for you on a personal level and to contend with your walk through bereavement alongside putting the exhibition together is admirable and deeply commendable. As you establish yourself as an artist, commercially, that determination and single-minded dedication will stand you in good stead.
    I congratulate you on achieving your degree and wish you the richest success in your future endeavours.

  12. Well, gosh. Your comment is almost overwhelming Elizabeth. Thank you for it.
    I'm not sure I deserve quite all of it.
    But, thank you. I'm glad you got something out of this work. Each person that does, makes it worthwhile for me.


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