First published on 20 April 2022
Wrinkles in repeated sentences by Sanghoon AHN
Sanghoon Ahn's solo exhibition wrinkles in repeated sentences at Gallery Chosun, Seoul (26 March–6 May 2022).
There haven't been any records in a while, most likely because I didn't want to unveil myself anywhere. Despite so, I revised the notes I took in Germany from 2005–2016.
I must now empty and fill up again.Chase the sun towards tomorrow, then chase against it to yesterday.
The airport used to always make me excited.Now, place where I don't bid anyone goodbye but myself, is a city of numbness where I don't feel any excitement, joy or sadness. I don't feel anything, but I feel pain somehow. Perhaps the pain hits where no senses can reach.If I take off to where I left, far beyond the emptiness, then return here someday, would I still remain in the same place until then?Would time foster oblivion and longing together, then embrace me through open doors on that day I return?
Where was that place my memory lingered?
It's hard to tell the weather of the day through closed curtains except for when the sun shines through or rain pours.I can vaguely tell the weather that day, around the late morning when I greet the day with a cigarette.
The street is now a path.The snow made a path, so now it's a winter path.That's right. It shines for a moment then fades.Last fall will vanish without a trace the moment the spring comes.When the leaves fertilize the winter cold and brings vitality to your spring, you will no longer remember the times past.
A fallen leaf is on the cold floor of my studio, without a slightest movement.
The temperature dropped below freezing again and heavy snow fell. It's already March but it's still desolate. The chill in the air and the bright white blossoms of the spring trap me in my year-end loneliness.I wanted to drink, but I hesitated for a while then ended up taking the night bus home.
The winter in my mind had locked me in the house since a long time ago.
I wish I could think clearly. But if my thoughts were too clear, I might not be able to paint.A random number of drinks from last night, the works produced with that energy, the accumulation of fatigue, a small scar I got from working part-time. The pain in the joint of my finger seeps through my bones, my body droops boundlessly to the point of numbness, my head is empty and hungover, and I suffer in nightmares of fake sleep.
Hard liquor robs me of memory and turns me back into an adolescent.I'm producing more and more paintings but there aren't many places to show them. It's getting colder and it feels like this year will pass really quickly. I'm worried that my life will also fade and wash away like the increase of my grey hairs.Growing old means to push down my heart and fit it in a frame called "reason." I hope growing old doesn't mean the death of passion and spirit.
The loneliness in the damp winter of Berlin is like a scratch of wounds with a fingernail. This perilous life as an artist makes my body numb and my right arm tingle from the shoulder blade to the finger tips, and makes my back bend and my knees kneel.
How long will I be able to endure?I fiddle with my cell phone which no one calls, or hum and talk to myself like some fool. I might get sad again but soon find a way out and keep things under control.I'm lonely but I'm stronger than loneliness.
How will I be able to turn my desires and questions about painting that I have hitherto pursued, into an articulate form?In a way that's neither undeveloped nor sophisticated,and neither complex nor simple?I wonder if I will be born into another living form the moment all the impurities in my body have dried out, as if to say 'Don't settle. Don't sway and turn all your experiences meaningless. Don't be too hasty nor too slow.'
My memory continues to be faint.Like bad sight without glasses, it's blurry, distorted, imprecise and ambiguous.
The snow-fallen landscape of Europe shown on TV reminds me of my travels there last winter and slowly excites me again.The stories from before, found somewhere in my brain and retrieved from my memory, can become clear with certain stimulation, or fade away, or stay unchanged. It's that obvious and instinctive.
I can already sense the small of rain, the sound of wind, the movement of sunlight, and the melancholy behind my neck.I discovered the awareness of the fact that the sensibility, which I wished to find on my own again but then forgot about its very existence, was already in me, but had been forgotten about.
I had forgotten about the taste of cigarettes and rot wine.One can only feel the night when one holds still and steadily looks into the shy night sky.
The dawn breaks.
'It's okay to love what is being forgotten.It's okay to listen to the sounds of morning.Beginning a day is so much like re-starting my life.'
For me, it's still uncanny and painful to see what's important to me being forgotten.
A beginning without newness.But I still give a toast, celebrating the faint resonance within numbness.I step on trees.I own the world.