In the summer of 2018, Jane and Louise Wilson traveled to South Korea's Gapado Island to partake in an artist residency program, as part of a broader initiative to preserve the island’s environmental and cultural values. Gapado Island is a carbon-free island dedicated to maintaining a sustainable ecosystem.
In a series of new photographic work printed on metallic photo rag paper, the imagery depicts sea urchins intertwined with island landscapes, lava rock stacks and deserted sites which were once shrines. Shrine worship is an aspect of shamanism on Gapado Island that is an integral part of the elderly generation’s traditions, notably the extraordinary group of female Haeneyo free divers who make their living harvesting and selling seafood. It is a practice that exemplifies their sister-like bond-- when they are together, they share everything. Due to the dangers inherent in free-diving and the changing tides of women in the workplace, their cherished tradition is in jeopardy.
This new body of work serves to investigate and demonstrate the psychic intersection between defensive architecture and Shaman shrines-- further expanding upon their publicly sited video installation, Suspended Island, 2018. In this work, the artists explored the relationship between the Houses of Parliament, Trinity House in Newcastle, and the abandoned coastal fortifications on Governors Island off the coast of Manhattan. Their video installation questions the impact of power and invisibility within historical memory. The multi-screen format creates a stereoscopic experience of physical space that connects spectacle with sites of historical power and uncovers recent ideological structures which have since been abandoned or left in a state of social neglect.
“The Island is a creature, that paws all my greatest fears, and sets me free.”
As spoken by the author Vesna Maric in Suspended Island, 2018.