Taey Iohe


Photography Series, ‘Restless’ (size varied, 120 x 180cm, 80 x 120cm), Seoul Museum of Arts Collection

4am. The alarm went off. She lifted her tired self from sleep. I was letting her sleep on one side of my bed when she decided to go back to her country, after a long stay in this strange place. We left with a short goodbye, but had a long hug. I came back to my room after she left. I put my head in the place where hers had been. I could not sleep to begin with; then when I woke up it was already midday. I was awake, but did not feel that way. My chest was hurting and the wind was cold. It felt as if a cool breeze brought a cold virus to me. There was a sensation of emptiness; a very short moment of warmth between night and morning. An unfinished heart.

She left some household items and disposables from her temporary residence, as she couldn’t travel with everything. I sometimes slept on the mattress that she had left behind. I did not want to fill the space of her absence with something else. I did not want to talk about it, or explain what it is exactly. I did not want to let time heal. I did not want to wait until objects and things get worn out, and disappear eventually from our space and time.

In the cul-de-sac; near the late night cinema; by the empty house where people had rushed to move out; in the river; under the cold bridge; in the park at night time, and in the factory, I dragged her bed outside to sleep on. My spine leaves an imprint on her mattress under the damp blanket. I ride her bed and go to an unwoken place.

I am crossing the thresholds of time and space, crossing between a restoration and a repetition of sleepness.

- from artist’s note

“We pause here, in bed. We have crossed a threshold to make a journey after receiving Taey’s letter. The bed is drifting away somewhere on the stream. [...]

Our steps become like sleepwalkers as we travel with her and pause. This drifting will not be over. It is okay not to be over. It won’t be done... The arrival will be postponed forever. I won’t be fearful of departing, however. It is important to approach, not to arrive. My journey is to meet your approaching.”

Excerpt from “The Drifting Bed, Transference of Meaning, and the Emergence of the Constellation of Memories”, by Young Ok Kim