Images by Hong Il Hwa
The moment everything disappears and reborn, The last 3 minutes
There was a little corner shop that had burnt down in my old neighborhood where I had lived as a child. I remember being there watching the fire with all the neighbors. The blazing fire looked like roaring monster that could swallow me like nothing but I was rather impressed with it than scared. After that day I would dream about the fire for the next few nights. I still remember the image so vividly like it was yesterday. It destroyed, swallowed then erased everything. Fire is popular thing for movies.
They would use any tiny tumbles or minor collisions to make the giant flame out of the cars or a small seed of fire would simply turn into the most dramatic inferno. Some experts say that there isn’t anything more beautifully provocative material like fire for a camera. This provocative and dramatic fire can be an element that brings the reality of the moment to the scene, but in religion it can be interpreted quite differently.
Fire can burn everything. Fire brings our sins to ash. It burns our sins to disappear. Fire cinders impurities into pure metal. How fire purifies metal is the process of how we can revitalize our soul. Humans have been polluting the water, air and the earth with impurities but the only thing that cannot be polluted is fire. Thus one of the most common ceremonies among native tribes is the ceremony of fire.
They wish to clean soul and find the purity in it through fire, the only element that can’t be polluted. The meaning of fire has transformed in religion as purity and purification. Some also think that fire is a symbol of human civilization because discovery of fuel to make fire and clean water has been the key resource in every era.
I believe that the modern ceremony of purification is explosion. Naturally active volcano can be studied, expected and be prepared for but blasts by humans can’t be predicted anymore. Explosions are intended and calculated but blasts are unpredictable. What I want to elaborate on is artificial fire that is shown on media’s coverage of fire and fire related incidents. It is amazing how much we can control nowadays of the scale of blast and fire, though it is still not as close to the precision of surgery.
The image I had started from a familiar scene is turning slowly into my own surreal world. I have been hesitating for about 3 years on that familiar landscaping work. It has been really challenging for me to take another step to bring it to surrealism. ‘The last 3 minutes’ is about how everything can disappear in 3 minutes. It is the characterization of the last moment. It all seem to begin when I combine the images I found by combing through my memories one by one and the more artificial images of fire I see on the media.
Contributor, Hong Il Hwa
A Korean artist, Hong Il Hwa is a member of the Korean Modern Contemporary Printmakers Association, and a member of SONAMU artist association in Paris. He was attracted by public when he won the Chunghyun Mecenat young artist award in 2008.
홍일화 작가는 한국 현대판화가 협회 회원이자 재불 소나무 작가 협회 회원이다. 2008년에는 정헌메세나 재유럽 청년작가상을 수상 등 다양한 대회에서 예술성을 인정받았으며 현재 파리와 서울을 중심으로 작품 활동 중이다.