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Exhibition

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Jenny Ham

Illumination

 

April 6 - May 28, 2000

My work is concerned with the history and memory of my cultural identity.

This work is essentially about a sense of cultural displacement and feelings of loss and nostalgia for a homeland. Using objects such as the traditional Korean dress as a metaphor for relocation, I recreate and re-represent them in wax. The representation is meant to signify how history is transient in character, in the sense that it is subject to change. For me, these objects are a rich source of semiology. They denote personal history, experiences, and related meanings such as, my relationship to my mother and my birthplace. In the beginning I sensed an unfamiliarity and disconnection. However, as the work evolved, the meditative experience of casting the objects evoked childhood memories and regenerated my relationship to the objects. I came to the realization that the traces of disconnection began when I ignored the preservation of my Korean cultural history. In completing this work, there has been a sense of reconnection to my past in conjunction with my present cultural experiences culminating in a formative hybrid experience.

For this window installation I will place the cast wax objects on light boxes that resemble museum plinths. I want to comment on how museums have efficiently categorized and displayed traditional artifacts in a way which characterizes them as a non-existent or dying culture.