원더 랜드 WONDEO LAENDEU (Wonderland)
According to the dictionary, WONDERLAND is:
1. an imaginary land of marvels or wonders
2. an actual place or scene of great or strange beauty or wonder
There are so many places called Wonderland in the world, but are we also dreaming now, as Alice did?
展名「원더 랜드」是英文wonderland音譯的韓字拼音，發音為wondeo laendeu。雖然已有이상한 나라的翻譯（直譯為：奇異之地），不過如同其他外來語的韓字拼音化，外來語與現有詞並行的普遍現象中，相同的意思人們傾向於認為音譯的名字顯得更有神秘的異國風情。此處以韓化的翻譯為名，雖然人們已經看過各種（模擬的）仙境（이상한 나라），而wondeo laendeu（원더 랜드）在此彷彿被異化成了一個新的、未知的，熟悉又陌生的美好之地。
According to the dictionary, “Wonderland” usually means imaginary realm of marvels or wonders.
However, there are many places related to it, some of them are even under the same name. The concept of “wonderland” doesn’t only exist in English or English speaking countries, but also showing up a lot in other languages in different cultures. For example ‘仙境’ in Chinese language means ‘the place where gods live’. With different names, humans are always dreaming for somewhere pure, perfect without sorrow.
We might have been to many of these wonderlands. The name is often to be used in books (the most famous one probably is from Lewis Carroll’s novel Alice's Adventures in Wonderland in 19th century,) movies, music, art…or it became a common name of places like playgrounds, shops or real estate.
But hey, have we really been to Wonderland yet?
On one hand, we ‘do have been’ there, we have been to those places under the same name or at least somewhere under similar, beautiful names. On the other hand, we have not been there, because the true wonderland should not exist in real world, all of the kinds is just an imagination of the perfect world. The things so called ‘Wonderland’ are just beautiful illusions mimicked by poets, writers, artists or businessmen.
In the exhibition, I attempt to discuss the definition of ‘wonderland’ more further. Everyone has different thoughts about that ‘unbelievable beautiful land.’ What is the basic element for building a wonderland? A well and harmonious family dinner? A nice salary after hard work? A perfect romance like the ones in Korean TV drama? Or.............
The relationship between reality and unreality has always been a very important element of my work. The word “unreality” here does not mean fake, but tries to describe the unknown and untouchable part of reality. What is true? What is fake? Is there a blurry zone between real and unreal? Or there is no room for discussion, like two poles of a magnet?
The concept of Wonderland is like a TV drama, some people it is unreal. It covers many difficulties in real life and only expresses the beautiful side. But for me, in some way this “unreal" part is also real at the same time, the beautiful side also reveals people's desire of perfect love or ideal life. Through the desire of chasing beautiful, unreachable illusion, it highlights the most real emotions and thoughts, as well as spiritual or substance demands from modern human beings.
After all, what is the reason for us to always seeking a better place?
Near Dadeapo beach, at the southern part of Busan city, Hongti art centre located in the area surrounding by factories. Inspired by the local factories nearby, in the exhibition I made a installation with similar look and system including a long automatic sliding gate, a huge area between the gate and the door, a big door which seldom opens, a dog that only can be heard, and a big obvious sign at a very high position. There are also some strange elements seems like fragments from life: A ‘어서 오십시오(welcome)’ mat from restaurant, a sensor door light from someone’s house and a big fake grass on ground an. Otherwise, it looks just like a factory under the name of 원더 랜드.
The Korean name of the sigh “원더 랜드” is a phonemic translation from english word “wonderland,” which is pronounced as “wondeo laendeu” in Korean. Although there is already an existed Korean word 이상한 나라 (which literally means strange land) to be used as the translation of “wonderland,” it is common to use phonemic translated words nowadays, not only for ‘wonderland’ but for many other words came from foreign languages. Somehow the two different word under same meaning, one is from local language and one is from foreign language, people found the translated one is more attractive, mysterious with exotic imagination. The work/exhibition has a translated name from English to Korean to English “Wondeo Laendeu” which makes the ‘land’ more localised and close to people. Although we all have seen many (mimic) wonderlands in books, movies or playgrounds, in here, the ‘wondeo laendeu’ became an alienation version of the concept of wonderland, local but foreign, familiar but strange, a new and unknown wonderful place.
No one has been to wonderland. We can not prove if the land really exists or not.
The only way we can do now is to find what might ‘belongs’ to the wonderland by discussing what does not belongs there. Through the experience of culture, languages or life, we seek for the definition of this ideal place. Or maybe, we can only shape the place from somewhere very far away, try to draw the phantom from our imagination.