Landscape is an emerging organism, one that simultaneously lives and dies. In my practice, material and process act as poetic metaphors for – and rigorous exercises in – philosophical concerns surrounding change. Recent projects explore the formation and dissolution of landscapes in contemporary settings. The conditions under which these fluctuations take place are riveting; they include ritual, myth, migration, globalization, meteorological events, and the temporal parameters of human perception.
In De Anima, Aristotle compares the soul to wax, as a material capable of holding the imprints of all that we experience. Paper does something similar, and papermakers refer to this quality as paper’s memory. Like skin or the ridge of a mountain, paper remembers the way it was born and what happens to it while it lives. Even in death, it stands as a testament to its demise. The qualities which compel me to make paper are ones that seem to be the most fundamentally human.
I often travel to faraway and distinct places to create site-responsive, monumental paper-works. In this nomadic practice, Tibetan and Japanese papermaking coalesce with feminist rituals and fluxist performances. The journeys examine the symbolic implications of the act of navigation. Land, like paper, is a flexible surface, shaped by forces above and below it, whereas the sky acts as a bridge between the known (earth) and the unknown (the universe). What is the relationship between horizontal movement, which manifests in the physical realm, and the vertical axis, which symbolizes spiritual ascendance?
Ultimately, these works are attempts to harness the momentary, such as the passing of a single hour, to allude to the eternal, like the dissolve of dusk into night.
- Hong Hong, March, 2019