Citizen’s Forest was inspired by the artist’s affection for The Lemures, an incomplete painting by Korean artist Oh Yoon (1946– 1986), and Colossal Roots, a poem written by Korean poet Kim Sooyoung (1921–1968).
The Lemures (1984) is a panoramic sketch depicting a procession of victims from major incidents in Korean modern history, including the Donhak Peasant Revolution, the Korean War, and the Gwangju Uprising. Colossal Roots (1964) is a poem that takes into account the layers of unconditional acceptance of ‘tradition’ while subverting the orientalist’s perspective. Citizen’s Forest serves as a contemporary platform that beckons the interests shared by these two works on historical trauma and the ‘Asian Gothic’ imagination.
Derived from shan-su (landscape) paintings mounted on scrolls, spectators are invited
to walk through a haunted dark corridor with ghostly spirits of the forest, or rather the approximation of ‘ghostly’ elements inherent to the conventional performed actions of the char- acters. Regardless of its allegorical allusion to history or tradition, these vengeful citizens (indeed, lemures) seem fully aware of the contemporary apathy towards their existence.