American Dream is a series of work mainly composed of transactional receipts deriving from artist’s life in the United States from year 2008 to 2017.
The initial motivation for this series of work came from the ongoing struggle of artist’s status situation in the US. He entered this country with a H1B visa in 2007. H1B is a visa program which grants a foreigner with an advanced degree to work in a specialty occupation in the United States for a temporary period. Upon acquiring H1B visa, the authorized status is held for a maximum of six years, and it can only be issued in increments of up to three years. With a knowledge that an application for a green card was permitted during this time, the artist made attempts to acquire work permit/green card on four separate occasions since 2012, but was denied each time.
These unintended, and helpless situations of continuous denial administered an opportunity of endless self questioning, which were resulting from questioning the initial sources of one’s emotions. Starting from meditations of looking into oneself, this series of artwork faces the ever so changing of minds. And through the process of understanding the initial sources of emotions, the artist seeks out an accumulated formative language within himself and expresses it through hand stitch. Administering the basic concept of the Korean traditional craft of JoGakBo, and applying receipts from past 10 years as weft and warp for endless hand stitching is artist’s own way to record the passing of time and an effort to implement the sanctity of labor.
JoGakBo, which is made of scraps from HanBok making, is a one of a kind wrapping cloth that is unique in Korean culture. Just as JoGakBo grants life to what may have been an insignificant discarded scraps, creating artwork by quilting together, stitch by stitch, by hand, once useless receipts from past 10 years of life, inherits the idea of “unifying daily lifestyle with art”. Furthermore, contemplating upon how to move forward with bridging together the Korean traditional culture with modern culture, how to fuse together the different culture of East and West as a foreigner, and how to incorporate daily life and art within our lives is how this train of artwork came into being.