WATERMARKS

Site-specific interventions: Anamorphosic rice drawings on the beach. Daebu-do island, South Korea.
Dec. 2011.

Up to our necks in water.

From October to December 2011, I carried out four interventions on the different beaches on Daebu-do, South Korea. This island was the site of the Seongam son orphanage during the 35 years of the Japanese invasion. This was a centre dedicated to "re-education and integration" (concentration and forced work) for Korean children aged between 10 and15 and was in operation until 1945. Many of the children tried to escape; there is no evidence that any of them succeeded: the residents of the island (the majority fishermen) would pick up the bodies floating on the beaches and bury them in the woods nearby.

The interventions are anamorphosic rice drawings that show the outlines of those anonymous people who drowned and whom the sea has left partially afloat. The action restarts the search for and exhumation of those forgotten bodies and is always carried out at low tide, directly on the mud, in the small and nerve-wracking time-frame that the “flow” allows me before the tide comes in again, the sea swells and the drawing’s outline is erased again, but not this time–never again- the memory of the person who drowned.

The action is recorded by a time-lapse camera to act as a record. The drawing ritual is carried out by tipping a total of 40 kilos of rice directly onto the coast’s black sands. This rice is not designed to be wasted and pollute the landscape, but the opposite, to feed scavenging seagulls and the beautiful local herons, to be blurred by the action of the sea and to be integrated into the coast’s natural outline.

For those who could not be found, who didn’t reach the “other shore” and for those who could not be laid to rest in the ground, the Watermarks drawings hope to save the outline from oblivion, wash away the tomb and integrate their stories forever.

Ángeles Baños Art Gallery
"Occupying the overflow" SOLO SHOW: Ángeles Baños Art Gallery


 

Video time-lapse (33")
"WATERMARKS Opus #01": Video time-lapse (33")

Work-in-progress / Rice-Drawing
"WATERMARKS Opus 01": Work-in-progress / Rice-Drawing

14 x 23,5 / 300 gr korean paper
Occupying the overflow: Opus #1-9: 14 x 23,5 / 300 gr korean paper

14 x 23,5 / 300 gr korean paper
Occupying the overflow: Opus #2 & 5: 14 x 23,5 / 300 gr korean paper

200x150cms. Marker and acrylic.
"Occupying the overflow #02 #03": 200x150cms. Marker and acrylic.