Light Load (2011)
During a five day visit to Seoul in South Korea (prior to a planned solo exhibition at a gallery in the city) I was asked if I would produce a single work which was inspired by my stay. I spent many hours aimlessly walking through this bustling city absorbing its life and culture. At one end of the spectrum the city is firmly rooted in the 21st Century with state of the art skyscrapers and electric vehicles. The opposite end has firmly stayed in a bygone age, with hundreds of small cramped workshops hidden in endless networks of alleyways. Everything imaginable is made here, from delicate glass laboratory equipment to steel springs. It is a hive of production, and as a result there is a need for transport. It is how the local businesses transport their goods around the city that caught my imagination and was the catalyst to creating Light Load.
There are numerous basic transport methods in Seoul, from adapted bicycles, tricycles, scooters and trolleys, to an ancient A-frame wooden carrier. This wooden carrier called ‘Jige’ dates back to the Josean Dynasty and was used by peddler merchants to carry heavy loads on their back. The design has intrinsically not changed and one sees many homemade variations utilizing cheap materials. This DIY approach produces some interesting customizations on a theme. When the Jige is not being used by it’s owner it is balanced and propped up with a pole. The long pole also doubles as a convenient walking stick to help balance.
In an effort to luxuriate Light Load and create a Jige that is coveted and seen in a new context I decided to use quality materials and a skilled cabinet maker. As a counter point to this ancient carrying tool I used a series of stacked modern plastic containers as the load.