'Mountain, Wind' / 2007, Gwang Hwa Mun, Press Release

Soo-min Lee



 At the heart of Seoul, there is a wide straight called called 'Tae Pyang' (¸╝°┴: grand peace/ tranquility) road, serving as a runway which connects the world to the very center of Korea.  At the nortern end of Tae Pyang Road a grand wooden gate called the Gwang Hwa Mun frames the entrance to the palace of Gyang Bok Gung, an enduring symbol of Koreaí»s culture and history.  The Gwang Hwa Mun gate has suffered a tumultuous existence. Invasions by the Japanese between 1592 and 1598 left the gate in ashes. During the Japanese occupation (1910 –1945) the gate was moved to break the Koreansí» spirit.


During the 1950í»s Korean War, the gate was demolished and rebuilt using concrete with a wooden façade.  In 2007 the Korean Government embarked on a multi-year project to restore the Gwang Hwa Mun gate to its original splendor.   To preserve the aesthetics of the majestic view normally framed by the gate, the Korean government plans to erect a large screen designed by one of Koreaí»s favorite artists.    Artist Ik-Joong Kangí»s proposal was selected from the artists who submitted their concepts for the screen.  Kang calls his project í░Mountain, Windí▒ and draws his inspiration from symbols that portray Koreaí»s past and future.  The 47 meters wide and 29 meters high screen consists of 2,530 pieces of 23.5 inch by 23.5 inch individual artworks, divided in relief into two parts – a background image of  Mt. In Wang rendered in brushstrokes, and thousands of equal-sized depictions of Chosun Dynasty's white porcelains arranged to fill in the life-sized shape of the Gwang Hwa Mun gate.  Artist Kang says that painting Mt. In Wang as a backdrop creates the sense of a transparent screen that highlights the mountain and weaves the artwork into the natural beauty of the landscape.  The idea of painting the Chosun Dynasty's white porcelains is inspired from his current work- 'Moon Jar.'


'Moon Jar' contains various meanings, according to Artist Kang. Its rounded figure exudes the feeling of cosmic compassion, yet in a very humble and tranquil manner.  He says 'Moon Jar' is said to represent 'sky and heaven' from Korea's traditional perspectives. From the current world's point of view, he says it also holds the secret about the separated Koreas and their fate to be one nation. As the new face of Gwang Hwa Mun is being readied, artist Kang's 'breathing' art work of "Mountain, Wind" will carry on the duty of this historic gateway of Korea and keep the exhilarating expectation of new Gwang Hwa Mun in the hearts of Koreans.  The official opening of Mountain, Wind is December 28, 2007, and will stand until late 2009 when the restoration of the Gwang Hwa Mun gate is is completed.