I wonder if it was from birth.
As I like water very much, and have lived in Jeju Island, I have enjoyed diving in the sea. It was an ecstatic experience to dive as far as I could breathe and appreciate the underwater scenery. On the other hand, the deeper sea where I can't reach has always made me wonder what creatures live there. As such, the sea has always been an object of admiration for me.
One day in elementary school, I was walking along the beach with a friend and found a broken rubber ball the size of my fist. When I looked closely into the ball, a fish that looked a little unusual was crouching nervously. The moment I lifted the ball with curiosity, the fish disappeared from my sight, flapping its fins as if it had spread its wings.
At that time, the little fish dazzled my eyes through the movement of crossing curves and straight lines, emitting brilliant fluorescent and primary colors. Since then, I have decided to paint a picture of my encounter with this fantastic fish that was once a moment. Finally, I was able to share a moment of my eclectic childhood innocence through this first exhibition in New York.
2019. Paik. U
The Archibenthic Memory 深海記憶
The archibenthic zone refers to an area between 200m and 1,000m below sea level. It is more of a starting point of deep sea though it is not deep enough, and there is only a bit of dim light which stimulates visual response, lacking extraneous light. The zone is also known as disphotic zone in a sense that there is less light.
In this zone, marine snow can be found, the phenomenon of massive dead plankton falling silently like snow, and every creature becomes way more sensitive to light. It is quite possible that the marine life here can see innumerable colors from a source of light, refracted by prism.
Just like this marine creature getting more light-sensitive in the archibentic zone where there is less light, not more, artists become more so in a dark, wild world.
Artists can detect a different kind of light, which average people can’t, as if they are bringing back memories from heaven or the deep ocean.
Paik-U was born and raised in Jeju-do, the biggest island of Korea. The beautiful ocean surrounding the island is famous for having a different color on each bearing.
“I used to enjoy diving into the ocean as deep as possible and looking around. I always wondered what kind of creature is living in a deep ocean where I couldn’t reach.” The artist said.
Ocean is blue. That’s how people perceive it. They might just color the ocean with blue crayon just like little kids knowing there are only 12 colors of crayons. However, adults know, through their higher education in science, that ocean isn’t actually blue. They know that energy with short wavelength is green or blue, and this color can only reach deep down in the ocean. That’s what makes the entire water look green or blue, but ocean is actually transparent.
For those of who live under the sea with their homes based somewhere nearby, and have experienced diving into the water and detecting its depth and temperature with their own five senses, ocean has innumerable colors.
For them, ocean has the light that can be split into hundreds and thousands of colors, as vivid and sharp as the ray of light penetrating into our skin.
The girl also might have detected colorful light when she dove into that ocean and opened her eyes wide.
Ocean is their home, non-worldly place, past and future life.
Series of “the Archibenthic Memory” by Paik-U shows the opposite style and color of what the average people think of the ocean.
That’s because the artist revived the ocean from the perspective of someone who saw it under the sea, not from that of a mere viewer. In her works, she shows memories about water which she resonates with.
Memories are nothing but personal beings if they are kept as memories. Artists’ responsibilities should go beyond being radiant in the deep ocean. Series of “the Archibenthic Memory” is a creative effort made by a person from an island, who strives to highlight the deep ocean with light through her memories of colorful prism.