New York based Korean artist Kang Ik-joong will have a work prominently displayed on the river by the Millennium Bridge as part of the Totally Thames festival this September.
The official release from the Totally Thames website is reproduced below, and Yonhap has a report from today’s press launch in Seoul.
Floating Dreams by Ik-Joong Kang
Thu 1 – Fri 30 Sep 2016
Bankside, adjacent to Millenium Bridge
A major London installation by Ik-Joong Kang, one of South Korea’s most renowned and celebrated multimedia artists, Floating Dreams is a compelling, large-scale installation situated in the centre of the River Thames by the Millennium Bridge in London. Constructed from 500 miniature drawings and illuminated from within, the three-story-high lantern structure acts as a memorial to the millions displaced and divided during the Korean War (1950-53), and a poignant symbol of hope for the reunification of North and South Korea.
Born in South Korea, Ik-Joong Kang relocated to New York in 1984 to complete a Masters in Fine Arts at the Pratt Art Institute. For Floating Dreams, the artist returned home to collect drawings by the generation that fled from North Korea to South Korea during the conflict over 66 years ago. Now in their 80s and 90s and unable to return, Kang asked them to revisit their memories and draw their hometowns on small pieces of paper, measuring 3 x 3 inches. 500 palm-sized images, recalling joyful and sorrowful memories of lost homes and broken families, have been transferred onto pieces of Hanji, a traditional Korean rice paper, and transformed by the artist into a single work of art that illuminates the pain and hope of many Koreans displaced by the Korean War. Floating Dreams recognises and raises awareness of the participants’ longing for home and their faith in a future reunification for their country.
The artist is internationally recognised for creating major public art works using multiple 3 x 3 inch canvases to spotlight the plight of people and societies around the world. In 2002, Kang completed the project Amazed World commissioned by the Republic of Korea in association with UNICEF. Approximately 40,000 works by children from 150 countries and a diverse range of cultures, religions and political beliefs were displayed in a giant maze installation in the lobby of the United Nations building in New York. In 2013 the artist built a 175-meter-long covered bridge, The Bridge of Dreams, in Suncheon, Korea, containing 120,000 drawings by children from around the world. Last year alone the Bridge of Dreams drew more than 5 million visitors. Kang has donated installations to children’s hospitals including Cincinnati Children’s Hospital (Ohio USA 2006), Zaitun Library (Erbil Iraq 2008) and Asan Medical Center (Seoul Korea in 2010), giving hope and dream to terminally ill children. Most recently Kang realised The North in My Dream again addressing the idea of connecting North and South Korea. Presenting 15,000 drawings by those who were forced to leave their homes in North Korea behind, the mosaic display will open in August 2016 on the border of North and South Korea.