“One day in the autumn of 2003 while painting at my studio in Seoul, I looked up towards the sky and noticed that the Ginko leaves seemed to be burning with fire in the reflection of the white sky. This intense visual experience brought an idea to me about burning incense. The collective beauty of the Ginko leaves was a magnificent spectacle and I soon began incorporating burning incense with my work.
The ceremony of burning papers with incense and solder iron is a profound part of performance to my art. I carry out this ceremony with patience just like burning incense in ceremonial rituals for purification. In my works, I use fire in a technical method by using hot burning incense and a soldering iron to burn permeated screens of Hanji, a Korean traditional paper. I try to show profiles of the modern time of ‘cosmopolitanism,’ where multi-cultures coexist beyond the collision of Eastern and Western cultures, in a method of practicing ideology of transmigration of souls in Buddhism. Through a technical image in the ideology of transmigration of souls of all things with life in ashes after their deaths, I produce new images through the repeated burning of Korean traditional papers, one by one.
New screens are reproduced after filling them up with colors on repeated expression of smoked traces with combination of paper, fire flames and special effects provided by the media of paper. This is a methodology of oriental philosophy just like burning one by one for vacating thinking in seving incense flames is the root and origination of my works. My works vanishing the two images separated far away using flames and soldering irons by overlapping them is just like to arrive finally at new thinking after endlessly serving incenses flames to vacate thinking and is a new method of expressing images for creating new images.” Lee Gil Woo