Riun Jo

South Korea, 1991




I create and express myself to search for warmth in coldness. In 2020, like everyone, I spent more time at home than I ever did before. I used to define a home simply as a space where I live. However, my definition of this has changed completely with the pandemic. Racial discrimination against Asians in The Netherlands gave me fear, anxiety, loneliness, and a feeling of isolation. Once I felt these kinds of emotions, my home, which was a serene haven for me, disappeared in an instant. I realized that home is something one can have or lose, depending on the state of mind. 

My graduation work shows not only the fragility of home but also the longing for home. I copied objects in my room in Amsterdam using Hanji.

Hanji is a traditional handmade Korean paper, and I have been interested in this material for a long time. It is made of a paper mulberry tree, so it is soft and warm to the touch, but also strong enough to withstand 1000 years. Since old times, Hanji has been used not only for books, but also for windows, walls, and floors of buildings.

The poetic materiality and eye for detail in Riun’s installation show everyday objects that exude silence and timelessness. A pillow seems to have only just been abandoned by the head that has rested on it, and the use of moving light creates a play of light and shadow in which the objects are alternately solid and transparent. Is it alabaster, porcelain, textile or paper? Are we an intruder in this serene space? Or are we invited?