"Sacred Wood" - Bae, Bien-U
For the Korean people, pines are foundations for their soul (Bae, Bien-U)
For over 25 years, Bae, Bien-U has been taking photographs of the old pine forest which surrounds the kings' shrine of the Shilla Dynasty in the vicinity of Gyeongju. The impressive photographs, from the series Sonamu, represent an important part of the entire work.
Bae, Bien-U's long-standing passion and fascination stem from the Korean culture in which the pine signifies an especially strong symbolic power and, at the same time, is present in literature and other areas of culture. The Koreans regard the pine with great
respect. It is worshipped by the people and it is also their belief that the pine, acting as ambassador, accompanies the soul of the deceased into the world hereafter.
At one and the same time, Bae, Bien-U, views the pine as a connection between heaven and earth. In a unique manner he succeeds in capturing the dramaturgy and magic of this mystical setting, as well as incorporating the energy flow of the trees as a tangible vitality and yet, simultaneously he has the gift to pass this on as a calm, intensive meditation.