Prayer&Desire

The “Prayer and Desire” part displays works that contain various interpretations of basic prayers and desires that people have. The “A Sacred Tree” chapter expresses individuals’ wishes through various symbols; “Home Sweet Home” interprets the custom of connecting wishes for good luck with objects; “♥4U” works on Internet messages exchanged between families on certain days, such as anniversaries, holidays and birthdays. Through these three chapters, 22 artists cover a variety of areas such as two-dimension, three-dimension, and screenwork.

1. A Sacred Tree

Humans have long visualized abstract concepts such as religion and law using writing systems. We make amulets for the purpose of praying for the happiness of individuals and groups, or fortunetelling, and sometimes record human wishes with text, including the interpretation of the operation of the universe. Such a behavior has been handed down from ancient times to the present in similar patterns. It is a fundamental human desire to avoid fear about invisible beings and phenomena as well as ill luck and to pray for blessings. ‘A Sacred Tree’ deals with the wishes and beliefs of artists who have shown unique visual expressions. This part highlights the balance of life and an attitude to wish for it (Dohee Kwon), the wisdom from tradition and experience (Zhao Liu), the symbol of good luck based on personal experience (Studio Bergini), our destiny that embraces both much of our joy and sadness at the same time (Anthony Lam), the return to the most basic attitude (Atelier Tout va Bien), words to bear in mind (Ahn Mano), the balance between given destiny and desire (O.OO), a circulation of the world and a mind that calmly contemplates life while observing it (Hwayoung Lee), amulets for confirming one’s beliefs (Ikki Kobayashi), and criticism of society and culture (Tnop Wangsillapakun). These artists’ thoughts and emotions are installed like traditional five- colored ribbons hanging from a sacred tree just as in Korean villages for centuries. We hope viewers will find many of their wishes captured in the works made of characters and symbols of several cultures and enjoy them together.

2. Home Sweet Home

People project various but identical desires—such as longevity, health, and the acquisition of goods—onto objects, and live with those objects in their living spaces. Objects of happiness that can be found anywhere in the world— such as a fancy mattress embroidered with turtles or cranes, a maneki-neko in the form of a cat that is considered to bring guests or money, and a Dala horse in Sweden, which is said to bring home peace—are often made based on long-lived animals or plants, or animals that are considered auspicious in different cultures of the world. These objects and ornaments exist in bedding, kitchens, and children’s study rooms in various forms. The ‘Home Sweet Home’ chapter of the exhibition consists of works by Studio COM, which expands the visual enjoyment of a flat plane to a variety of objects. Works that reinterpreted objects of happiness allow us to look at scenes we are familiar with from a bit different perspective. How good would it be if we could accumulate happiness like goods and use them whenever necessary?

3. ♥︎4U

In a group cell phone chat window where a family is gathered, they share messages wishing for the well-being of their family members. Those image files are intriguing. The text gathering all the positive words in the world and old-fashioned images are combined in the memes, which contain sincerity praying for the happiness of their family. People have long wished for the well-being of their family. In ‘♥4U’, font designers and photographers send warm replies to the messages they have received using text and images, the two key elements of the greetings wishing for the receiver’s well-being. When considering the real time and spatial environment in which not only Internet memes but also greetings are shared, we can come up with the front of the memorial service table on the morning of a Korean holiday. At this exhibition, through the friendly-looking, old TV sets installed in front of the folding screen and the messages contained in them, we hope viewers will get an opportunity to look at common memes shared between family members from a new perspective.

Slowly with a turtle
Quickly with a crane
With a Turtle
With a Crane