Welcome to the Buffer Zone

Haevan Lee

Keywords: Landscape, Painting, Border


Oil, acrylic on canvas, pannel, Nitrile rubber, objet, sound, video 05:32, 350 x 1000 x 150 cm (dimensions variable) Photo by Jhoeko

My research explores the geopolitical landscape of borders across the globe, in the form of a ‘painterly’ study of such sites. I depict directly on seeing and drawing the DMZ on the Korean Peninsula where you can not take a picture or can not go inside like a painting, also the border area between North Korea and China, and other border areas in Eurasia, while imagining crossing that boundary, or entrusting myself to the fluctuating boundary.

Through the curved panoramic three-dimensional painting with objects, I try to turn the exhibition space itself into a buffer zone. Viewers encounter fictionalized characters and restriction signs in the landscapes exploring various boundaries between cultures, life and death, virtual and reality, human and nature.

This thesis <Buffer Zone : Human-made Landscapes> researches 'boundary' and 'buffer zone', and questions how the existence of the buffer zone could be connected to the functions of art. Starting from my personal history with the buffer zone of the Korean DMZ while imagining crossing that boundary, or entrusting myself to the fluctuating boundary, I step into a field where moral values, political values, and artistic values collide, step by step.

In the present age, past histories are repeated all over the earth and new situations are unfolding. Protests, wars, discrimination, violence, epidemics, border closures, etc. For artists, their experiences make them constantly reflect on how they relate reality to their past historical experiences and what values they should pursue in the future. Living in this society, we could try to understand political, philosophical, historical, and impersonal values, and at the same time seek freedom and value through art.