For Artpace, Yangah Ham recreates the physical and visual sensations of a dream. This complex video installation, titled Mongyu Do Won Do, alters the architecture of the gallery space, taking the viewer on a disorienting voyage. The viewer enters the gallery on a tall platform, down a claustrophobic tunnel. At the end of the low-ceilinged corridor is the first projected video image: a view of a jump from a tall building. After turning a dark corner, another projection is revealed: the saturated colors of a landscape fill the wall. The view soars over water, cliffs, and a landscape. On another wall, a large-scale projection shows a dense forest. Smaller-scale multiple images of details from nature punctuate a third wall of the gallery. Throughout the installation, ambient sounds heighten the physical senses: breath, wind and other sounds from nature.
Mongyu Do Won Do references a 15th-century Korean painting by An Kyon in the collection of the Tenri University, Japan. An Kyon was a court painter patronized by Prince Anpyong of the Choson Dynasty. The painting, Dream Journey to the Peach Blossom Land, illustrates one of the Prince’s dreams in which he journeyed with a friend to another realm. The painting is divided into two parts: one that represents the ordinary, familiar world; and the second that depicts the Price’s dreamscape of paradise.
Ham’s installation makes physical an environment that exists only in her mind, in the space of her dream. The result is immediate and visceral. The physical environment heightens the viewer’s spatial awareness; the visuals are intense, bold, and iconic. Although she is not working from a Jungian practice of dream analysis, Ham holds her dream imagery out as a window to the psyche. Instead of an intellectual search for symbols and meanings, she encourages a sensual, experiential relationship with our dreams, a link between the body and the images that inhabit our consciousness.