Hwayoung Lee

Hwayoung Lee studied visual design at Seoul National University and the graduate school of the same university, and is interested in fantasy, memory, girls, and Eastern Philosophy. She has been a member of the graphic design studio Plat since 2014 and founded Bowyer with Sang-Jun Hwang in 2016. Bowyer deals with a wide range of fields, such as visual identity, various printed materials, and products for art and culture, as well as many different commercial projects.

From a Mouse Under a Tree to a Pig Under the Clouds

Since ancient times, people in East Asia have interpreted the world through the concepts of the Five Elements and yin and yang. The Five Elements theory says that all things in the world are made up of the properties of wood, fire, soil, iron, and water, and these properties circulate in harmony or conflict with one another. And the yin and yang theory says that the world is made up of a combination of positive and negative energies.

Based on these ideas, ancient people derived ten kinds of energy from the sky and twelve kinds of energy from the earth, and the energy of the sky and the earth was combined to create the sexagenary cycle. The cycle was a framework for understanding the flow of time in the Eastern world until the introduction of the Western calendar. Furthermore, people determined the fate of humans living in the flow of time through the sexagenary cycle. The fate of humans, which is understood through the sexagenary cycle, is not fixed, but changes as the components that make up the destiny interact with one another. The sixty terms—which starts with gapja (甲子, a mouse under a tree) and ends with gyehae (癸亥, a pig under the clouds)—are like a fabric of fates woven vertically and horizontally with the cycle in which all living beings born, grow, bear fruit, and die. This work looks at life intently through the process of weaving the fabric step by step.

  • 2200 × 1200 mm
  • Pigment print
  • 2021
  • Coming soon.
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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.

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