Sujin Lim’s work can be classified into two periods, before 2011 and after. The pivotal moment was when he studied public art in Hamburg at the Bauhaus University. Experimentation, the political and societal positioning of art, the place of the artist in the world, break with the classical and academic art education she first received in South Korea in the 2000s. This geographical distance will allow her to distance herself from and become aware of the problems linked to nuclear energy and the transformation of landscapes.
One of the triggers took place in 2012 with the explosion of a large chemical factory in Gumi in the south of Korea. Toxic gas spread over several kilometres, affecting hundreds of people, five of whom died. Trees lost their leaves and livestock suffered breathing problems. In the aftermath of this event, Sujin Lim created Reversing the Summer, in which she projected green light onto the burnt trees, symbolically trying to revive them.
Landscape Painting is in a similar vein. In 2018, the artist was forced to return to Korea and went back to the island of Young – Heung, where she used to go on holiday for most of her childhood. Instead of landscapes of mountains and forests, she finds an industrial skyline, ramshackle factories, armies of electricity pylons and a bridge connecting to the mainland. Tourism has been partially dumped there, the water is polluted, the swamps dried up. The octopuses, shrimps, shellfish and other crustaceans of his youth have disappeared from their natural environment.
The artist spends two years interviewing her father and the islanders, collecting their chronicle of the original panorama. She repaints this landscape, creating the illusion of an ancient memory. Halfway between painting and performance, the landscape becomes a form of methodology and tool, which erases reality. Well aware of not being able to revolutionize a system, Sujin Lin questions the real and balanced possibilities between nature and the weight of industry and economy and how a majority is forced between two systems. Is there an alternative?