Korea

The Bridge

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Bringing people, culture and generations together through Arabic calligraphy is what eL Seed aspires to achieve through every artwork. When the Gyeonggi Museum of Modern Art in Ansan, South Korea approached him to create an art piece in the DMZ (demilitarized zone between North and South Korea), the goal was to celebrate a call for reunification, unity and mutual respect. eL Seed’s initial plan was to build a bridge-like sculptural artwork that would curve upwards to a height of 20 meters, but stop at the mid-way point.

Bridges are never built from one side; their very nature needs a step forward from both sides, so by extending the sculpture to the mid-point, he was intending to make a gesture of solidarity. The project would remain unfinished until another art piece was installed in North Korea, thus making it the ultimate symbol of unification.

However, due to the security matters within the military zone the concept was fraught with difficulties and getting permission for the initial idea was difficult. Military restrictions would not allow this idea to be realized so instead, eL Seed proposed a horizontal laser-cut aluminium art piece installed on the fence of the DMZ. The art piece spells out the words of Kim Sowol, a poet from North Korea who died before the country became divided.

You may remember, unable to forget:
yet live a lifetime, remember or forget, 
For you will have a day when you will come to forget.

You may remember, unable to forget:
Let your years flow by, remember or forget, 
For once in a while, you will forget.

On the other hand it may be:
‘How could you forget
What you can never forget?’

The art piece feeds the memories of the older generations with the souvenir of one united country and it stands as a reminder for the younger generations that there is a shared culture, language, and traditions and that art can bring people and indeed, generations together, beyond political conflict.

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