Lee Soon-Kyu, 2015


50 x 43 cm.

Edition of 80.

Signed on the verso.

This artwork is sold framed.

Contact Collectionair for details about the artwork:

Hand-printed photo-etching by Charlotte Colbert based on her large-scale corten metal and moving image sculpture of the same title. Artist and lmmaker Charlotte Colbert undertook the long journey to nd and meet Lee Soon-Kyu in her home in Cheongju, South Korea.


Backstory: October 2015, KOREA: Lee Soon-kyu, an 85-year-old grandmother from South Korea, smiled shyly, like the young bride she once was when the husband she last saw 65 years ago hugged her.


Lee had been married to Oh In-se for only seven months and she was ve months pregnant when the Korean War erupted in 1950. Oh disappeared into the conict, ending up in the North when the war was halted three years later by a truce that left the Korean Peninsula divided.


The spouses did not see each other again until Mr. Oh, now a deeply wrinkled 83-year-old showed up wearing a black fedora as part of the rst reunions of war-separated relatives the rival Koreas have arranged in nearly two years.


“I can’t tell how much I missed you,” said Ms. Lee, who never remarried and raised her son alone. “I have wept so much thinking of us that there are no tears left in me.”


Mr. Oh, holding her hand, said, “My dear, I didn’t know that the war would do this to us.” Ms. Lee and the couple’s son, Oh Jang-gyun, 64, were among 389 South Koreans who crossed the heavily armed border into the North in buses and ambulances on Tuesday to meet with 96 elderly North Koreans who wanted to reunite with long-lost relatives for perhaps the only time. Ms. Lee said that after her husband appeared to her in a dream in 1978, she gave him up for dead and began holding an annual ritual for a deceased relative.


After the Koreas agreed to hold a new round of family reunions, she heard from the South Korean Red Cross that her husband was alive in the North, looking for her.


The reunions, at the Diamond Mountain resort in southeastern North Korea, are a rare and highly emotional glimpse at the pain the long political divide on the peninsula has inicted on families separated by the war. For more than six decades, they have been forbidden to exchange letters, phone calls or emails, much less to meet. While their governments have arranged occasional reunions, they have been limited to a couple hundred people.


Lee Soon-Kyu and her husband were granted permission to be together for only 12 hours, in supervised sessions over the course of ve days. South Korea has repeatedly called for more reunions, which are widely viewed as a barometer of relations.But given the uctuating political tensions on the peninsula, only 18,800 Koreans have been allowed to participate in 19 rounds of face-to-face reunions since 1985, when the rst gatherings were held.


The reunions are a poignant yet bitter reminder that the Korean Peninsula is still in a technical state of war because the 1950-53 ghting ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty. More than half of the 66,000 South Koreans waiting for reunions are in their 80s or older. South Korea selects the candidates for reunions by lottery, while the North is believed to give priority to people deemed loyal to the government.


Artist and filmmaker Charlotte Colbert undertook the long journey to nd and meet Lee Soon Kyu in her suburban home in the outskirts of Seoul. The portrait consists of detailed abstracts of Soon-Kyu’s face, capturing the details of the waiting, recreating her presence in time and abstracting her to universalize her story.The abstraction of Lee Soon-Kyu captures the universality of waiting. It's entrenchment in the human condition.

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Charlotte Colbert is a London-based Franco/British artist known for her grim, blurred imagery. The warped dimensions of Dali, Breton, and Toomer breathe through her pictures, each telling a paradoxical story. Colbert's art being her channel to meaning and new perspectives, the artist continues to parse through the inner and outer spaces occupied by the mind. Colbert has been exhibited at small- and large-scale galleries internationally, including Hong Kong Basel, Istanbul Art Fair, and Photo-London.


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