Bojagi Fragments

Bojagi is a traditional production method of drapery, peculiar to Korea. Its history can be traced back to the 8th century BC. It has been used in various contexts, which range from preserving or safekeeping objects to carrying them; and, it is possible to encounter with Bojagi in every aspects of daily life, such as in tablecloths, quilt covers, weddings, religious ceremonies etc. In its etymology, the word “Bojagi” has an affinity with the Turkish words such as “bundle”, “patchy bundle”, “ragbag” or “patchwork” (i.e., literally, it means the fabric used for packaging). The term “Bojagi” implicates such words like “patch”, “scar”, and “side”, “adjoin”. Both in “Bojagi” and “patchwork”, the artisan produces with a wish and/or prayer, it comprises breathing a protecting air into the objects it carries, covers, or put in. In Korean culture, we face with several types of Bojagi, varying in regard to difference and varieties in the fabric used as well as in the colors preferred, and even in the objects to be carried. And, these different types of Bojagi have their own unique names. Jogakbo, i.e. the traditional patchwork type of Bojagi, is a craft mainly to create various household items and are usually sourced from leftover clothes; therefore, it can be easily transformed into an image of poverty; once it influenced modern artists such as Klee and Mondrian, and today this influence can still be observed in contemporary artists as well. The reference domain of this exhibition is composed of various types of Bocagis, which are produced by improvising or playing with totally different, big or small fragments and various colors: the forms of the fragments, in a way the forms of the patches are composed of squares, rectangles, or triangles which make squares-rectangles, or the ones consisting of monolithic parts of a single color, or the ones consisting of the variations of similar colors, or the ones expanding from the central small square or triangle; shortly, the forms are made of different combinations of big or small parts as well as various colors. The “fusion” parts are kinds of Bojagi abstractions. Fire makes the welding (i.e. combines or wraps) the patches/scars in these abstractions. The East is always an art of light; the glass mosaics are illuminated behind just like the Bojagis hanged against the sun. The main concern of this exhibition is to construct a familiarity between the visual aspect of the seam lines of the Bojagi, varied with the light coming from behind and separating the parts from each other, and the surfaces of the glass mosaic separated from each other by seams. Thus, the reference universe of the exhibition goes from the Bojagis, from the patchworks to the tradition of abstract art of Klee, Kandinsky, and Mondrian, who are in fact great mystics, wanting to reflect the objective lows of the universe, and accordingly considering composing the paintings with simple elements. In other words, this exhibition is beyond being an ornament, intends to knit a conceptual knot. In the basement of my atelier, the leftover glass fragments from my other works waiting in the baskets to be re-used again someday, give me the idea of this exhibition though my poverty in this way. With a reference to the historical narrative of woman labor, just as the traditional Bojagi makers and patch workers, I blow my breath into these fragments of glass, into my patches/scars waiting to be welded, combined through the glances of viewers.

Başak Altın

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