Wolf Guenter Thiel is Author, Editor and Curator
Wolf Guenter Thiel: A conspicuous recurrence of motives allows one to describe an individual codification. What is the main root concerning material and form for your models?
Won Ju Lim: I approach my work with specific formal concerns. I think about materials that create activities when they interact with light. The materials I am attracted to absorb, reflect and transmit direct light, light filtered by film, and video projection. Through these activities, I am interested in producing excess, and thus eventually, creating a fantastical space.
Another important formal component of my work is repetition. I often take models of a banal space and repeat them, sometimes hundreds of times, to erase the point of origin. Again through excess, the relationship between the “thing” and mimicry of the “thing” becomes complex.
WGT: Do you think your models have an accentuation with regard to being created by a woman, or is your origination of art gender-neutral?
Won Ju Lim: I never thought about my work being gender specific or the act of model making as being akin to one gender or another. My interest in models stem from my background in architecture.
WGT: We are showing your work in a context with three artists who are all working with models of “SOMETHING”. What type of “SOMETHING” does your model refer to?
Won Ju Lim: Some of my works refer to cityscapes and architecture and some to movements of roller coasters. There are also works from the »Memory Palace« series that refer to landscapes. The immediate reference might point to such recognizable things but I am more interested in what happens after this immediacy has passed. I am interested in my work referring to multiple things simultaneously. I am also interested in my work slipping from one reference to another. For example, the sculptural installations that part of the »Futuristic Ruins« series such as »Schliemann’s Troy«, »Longing for Wilmington«, and »California Dreamin’« point to fantastical futuristic cityscapes. At the same time they also can be read as an excavated city from the past.
WGT: What are the basic vertices for your work concerning the notion and the concept of MODELS?
Won Ju Lim: Models, more specifically architectural models, are fascinating to me because they intrinsically have a dual function. They allow for an intellectual understanding of space while allowing for a phenomenological experience. They point to an “elsewhere,” be it a hypothetical or a real space, and simultaneously they assert their “object-ness.”
WGT: Do you think that the process of creating an artificial space is able to discuss MEDIALITY in art in general? What does this MEDIALITY mean to you in the context of SELF-REFERENCE?
Won Ju Lim: I don’t believe the dual function I have described above necessarily lead to a medial position. I think it is possible to be both, which of course opens the possibility of being neither. I think this possibility of neither leads to a spatial and temporal suspension. Perhaps this can be an interesting entrance in to art.
WGT: The construction of the model always originates in a process of TIME. What does your model, a photograph or painting or film of it mean concerning TIME and PROCESS?
Won Ju Lim: I think about the temporal quality of my work as it relates to the perceiving subject. Along with contraction of space, there is a contraction of time in dealing with a model. Yet, when this model reveals itself as a piece of sculpture, and not just a scaled down version of a piece of architecture for practical purposes, its »object-ness« expands time. This is the reason why I often make installation works that are challenging in terms of scale. One must walk around the piece and deal with interruptions and fragmentations of projected images.
WGT: Your films, paintings or photos which derive from the model show an astonishing power of UTOPIA. why is a UTOPIAN SPACE so important in your work?
Won Ju Lim: I am not necessarily interested in utopia. I think a great deal about the aesthetics of cityscapes rendered in science fiction films such as Blade Runner or Logan’s Run. What I find particularly interesting about these cities is that there is a superimposition of the future and the past. Hollywood has rendered the future decades ago and was very specific in its style. In these films, the future was industrial and mechanical. Living in a digital age, I look at these films and they still remain “futuristic,” as if the future has already passed me by. I think this overlaying of the past and the future is where my work comes in. It creates some kind of a suspension of the present because there is a sense of lost or a missing. In other words, while there is an overlaying of time there is also a gap of time when one thinks about this relationship of the past and the future. This is the reason I thought »Futuristic Ruins« would be an appropriate title.
WGT: Do you consciously deal with CULTURAL CODIFICATIONS in your work, or are they merely implicit?
Won Ju Lim: While I think a great deal about and take high interest in contemporary cultural phenomena in relation to consumerism, capitalism, image making, and so on, they only function as a point of departure in my work.
WGT: If you think of Plato’s cave, your models represent the shadows that Plato describes. Would you agree or disagree that the shadows, the models, even form a richer, a more fascinating REALITY than the reality which creates the shadows?
Won Ju Lim: I don’t think the effects of the sculptural aspects of my work are richer; they are merely a component of the whole installation. Upon entering my installation, one is confronted with the sculptural aspects (its scale, material, form, color) while experiencing the effect of the sculpture. I am not interested in the position of power where trickery is at play. I believe the shadows and the reflections open up the possibility of multiple realities existing in one space.