While undertaking maintenance work to ensure that his striking sculpture (Existence stairs, exhibited in the entrance of the La Gaia restaurant) was looking at its best we took the opportunity to chat to the Korean artist, Seon Ghi Bahk.
Hello, Glad to meet you. I am an installation artist Bahk Seonghi. For me, charcoal is a unique material, more meaningful than anything else. I have used charcoal for my artworks for the past 25 years. As an artist, charcoal invokes in me a keen sense of the relationship between man and nature. Perhaps charcoal is like the last phase of the relationship that human or culture may have with nature. As an artist, I try to express this thinking through a form of artwork.
2.Existence Stair is about evasion and rising the infinity: Why did you choose this artwork for Ibiza Gran Hotel? Which is the relationship between the hotel and the artwork?
When I was invited to create a piece for Ibiza Gran Hotel, I had the faintest idea about the work itself and the underlying theme. So, I tried to conceive ideas and develop some concept for the work. Later, a thought struck me. This is a 5-star hotel, first of its kind in the region. And at that time the construction works were underway. In these circumstances, I was led to notice the relationship between architecture culture and charcoal. This theme is relevant to the hotel and it would be a good idea to present a work embodying this theme. So I finally selected the idea of illusionary stairs rising above to infinity, all made of charcoal. The stairs should be viewed as totally lacking any practical utility. I believed that this concept is well suited to the hotel.
“I selected the idea of illusionary stairs rising above to infinity, all made of charcoal. The stairs should be viewed as totally lacking any practical utility”
3.What is the role that Nature plays in your work?
Charcoal was selected to expose the relationship between nature and humans. Here, what is most important is the partnership between nature and man. Humans are destined to live in nature. I hope that we human beings don’t neglect nature but embrace it as a companion. If there is any, the main purpose of my work is to awaken people to see this simple truth. So I wish that people will identify Existence Stairs with a sense of nature.
4.What kind of maintenance does this piece need?
The installation is inside the hotel lobby. Usually an installation made of charcoal lasts about 3 years. So repairing it every 3 years will be enough to keep it in good state. Since the installation is made of charcoal and nylon, I believe that it can be maintained for a long period.
5.What motivates you as an artist?
When I engage in works, I usually concentrate in its depth, since this is the most important element. How I can draw the piece in a mental domain, how I can step up along the ascending path—this is the most important for me. On my death-bed, I would like to think proudly of how deeply I went in formulating my works. Well, this is the most important for me.
6.Some of your works have been created for hotels and public spaces: how do you understand the role of art in public spaces?
In fact, when I was young, I thought a work of art is a personal media for me. As time passed, my works were placed in public spaces, and I began to notice that a lot of people came to observe my works thanks to being in public space. From these experiences, I became aware of the essential nature of artwork. An artwork should allow observers to feel the sense of ownership. In plain words, the most crucial thing is that an artwork should be accessible by many people. In this regard, I think it is more important that an artwork be created in a way that it communicates with the observer.
“In plain words, the most crucial thing is that an artwork should be accessible by many people”
As an example dream project, I am now engaged in a work that extends 100 meters. I think the size itself is not important. As I mentioned before, I think it is crucial whether and how I can draw deep thinking into the work. If I succeed in drawing profound thought into the artwork, I guess it will become a masterpiece which is every artists dream.
8.What can we expect to see from you in the future?
Well, I think my answer may be similar to the one before. I hope that I may be able to continue engaging in my own works and entertain the profound depth that will be formulated into works.