“After Image” (“Nachbild” in German), which means “spectrums,” is one of the terms Goethe used in his Theory of Colors. During the four and a half years I spent in Europe, I had seen a number of spectrums that stood before me like ghosts without any tangible forms.
In the world of fine arts, there is a prevalent tendency to admire the glory of the past. However, such glory is merely spectrums and attachment to the past glory is nothing but an “obsession.” In this 21st century when the world can be connected seamlessly with the speed of light, such obsession strongly suggests obsolete images. As an artist, I question this outmoded conservatism and decided to make it a theme for my creation for a while. As for the motives and technique, I deliberately mimicked those of the traditional western paintings.
I started a personal project entitled “Red Shoes Diary” in 2008, two years after I moved to Europe. It was because I thought the way I worked in Europe as an artist strangely resembled the story of the famous Andersen fable “The red shoes”. The heroin Karen and I are so much alike. I came all the way to Europe just because I became captivated with arts and became an artist. I could not stop painting despite all the obstacles I faced and the wounds I got in the foreign land. It is also because I was convinced that it would be the perfect concept to go with my pictorial motifs, mature women’s feet and shoes.
The series is, however, a contemporary fable, and not meant to entirely follow the old enlightenment fairy tale. While Karen committed a sin and angered the God, I did not do anything wrong. It is not that I cannot take the shoes off, but I choose not to take them off. I have chosen to wear the red shoes. The shoes would take us to the place where we have not seen. The shoes would look good on us, the beautiful, smart, and brave women. The shoes are for all the women who survive in today’s world.
The ancient regime in which Andersen lived is long gone, and today we are free regardless of however we are born or sexually oriented. Adding to that, as I am an outsider to begin with, I am fortunate to be exempted from the restriction the old world Europe imposes, and I can have whatever attitude.