Sang-Yeo

Between Death and Life

Installation for the Moran Museum of Art, Korea

The distance between Life and Death has fascinated cultures worldwide for ages, often represented as a ceremonial journey from one side to the other. In Greek mythology the boatsman Charon crosses the deceased on the river Styx; Korean tradition moves the lifeless body to its last resting point in a ceremonial carrying bier, called Sang-yeo.The Sang-yeo is often very colourfull and decorated with figurines called Kkokdu. This symbolic process is represented in the installation for the Moran Museum. A conceptual Sang-yeo is build by stacking cellular concrete blocks, characterised by their light weight and porosity, on top of eachother. The sculpture then travels by freight from the port of Antwerp in Belgium to Korea, crossing the world seas to the other side. For protection, the structure is covered in transparant wrapping plastic, typical for traveling packages. Hidden in wrapping, the sculpture will be installed in the museum. After arriving the installation begins its new life, the wrapping slowly degrades and nature takes over again in the form of moss and plants. Death is renewed, and ready for the next life.