In Search of the Lost Tiger

In Search of the Lost Tiger – Installation
2020
Vinyl sheet, monitors, speakers
Size variable

This installation at Coreana Museum of Art in Seoul brings together my research behind the making of <Paradise Limited>.

Paradise Limited (2017) is a 3-channel animation work based on my year-long research on the nature sanctuary that exists at the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) and the mythology created around this zone. I spent two weeks journeying along the DMZ, which I documented as a drawing on a 25-meter long paper (each 10km of the trip translated into 1m in the drawing). This later became the background of this animation work.
As a South Korean, DMZ always has been a place of fear, mystery, fascination and hope. In elementary school we sang the song of reunification and watched the documentary about the hard life in North Korea. For South Korean Men, through the obligatory military service, some are assigned to serve near the DMZ.
I decided to go on this journey after I read the article about Sun Nam Lim, so called Tiger Lim, who believed that there are wild Korean tigers still existing close to the DMZ. I heard about the endangered animal and plant species existing inside the DMZ, but it was the first time I heard about a tiger. I was skeptical but also fascinated to read this article, because Korean tigers were massacred during the Japanese colonial period and finally lost their habitat completely during the Korean War. Tiger is a national symbol and it appears very often in Korean folktales and in religious paintings as a spiritual animal. I wanted to go on a journey to trace the history of this animal in Korean peninsula, and how tigers still live in people’s mind as a spiritual animal even after its extinction.
The drawings, interview materials, rumors I collected along this journey became the materials to construct the world of Paradise Limited.

The interview with Tiger Lim can be found here.

Installation view

Installation view
Installation view
In Search of the Lost tiger, Ink on Korean paper, 25m × 32cm