The forty-nine sets of triptych were taken during the lockdown due to the pandemic. The world was chaos itself, people were panicking, I was living in the most contagious area in the nation as the national shutdown began. The medical system was about to collapse and a truckful of dead bodies was found in my neighborhood.
I was alone, suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. So I started to meditate every morning; to calm myself down from pain and anxiety. To distance myself from past guilt and regrets. To mourn and pray for the dead drifting souls. After meditation, I scattered rice on the table like a fortune teller. I took a photo of the signs and made a self portrait of my back looking at the table top. And I captured the wind outside my window at that moment. Over time, this ritual brought a positive rhythm towards achieving balance in my mind and body. I began to see this practice as a ceremony referred to as "Sasipgujae" and composed a triptych with the daily works created for 49 days.
Sasipgujae is a ceremony held during the period when the spirit of the deceased remains in the realm between the worlds of the living and the dead. It also represents the end of the Buddhist mourning period of 49 days, in after which the bereaved family returns to normal life and the spirit of the dead to the afterlife. While sasipgujae is a Buddhist event to guide the spirit of the dead to the land of bliss, it also fulfills the social function of ending the mourning period set by Confucian ideas and the psychological function of haewon (Kor. 해원, Chin. 解寃, lit. release from regret).
From Gumirae, Korean Rites of Passage, Encyclopedia of Korean Folk Culture, National Folk Museum of Korea