The photographs in Luminescence, Here and There are not sceneries or objects perceived as a subject by Lee. One may ask if the act of reflecting the water on the mind-mirror is the minimal ‘gesture of the body/eyes’ to perceive the water. It is accurate. However, as mentioned before, he maintained the moments of becoming the cosmos-mirror through the process of ‘forgetting himself’ by the water. The water in the moment when knowledge of a subject vanishes, projects in the cosmos-mirror and transforms into the currents/rays as pure mass of light. It is the metamorphosis of water as the endlessly changing thusness (空性/眞如), rather than physical matter. The moments when water becomes ‘photographs (寫眞)’ by being woven in with the world of the galaxy where the mass of light swirls up as a vortex!
Lee was vigil towards ‘the essence estranging right upon a thought arises [動念卽乖].’ The reason he opened the eyes of his camera as he opened his body-eyes/mind-eyes and became the cosmos-mirror, is because he believed that his essence is in the water, not in himself. He contemplated on the subject ‘instantaneousness’ for a long time because he believed that all beings in nature possesses a mind. The world in the water is the cosmos of itself, as it is in the world outside of the water. Water not only bears and nurtures life, but controls and rules itself on its own as well. Therefore, the works in Luminescence, Here and There are sceneries of the moment capturing this and that, this luminescence and that luminescence into a unity (一如), through the cosmos-mirror that raised an idea reflecting the essence of water.
Lee Chang Soo became the cosmos-mirror and deliberately gazed at the water-face. These moments, the instant times, were the times of forgetting, emptying, and erasing oneself. The photographs raised from the water-luminescence were the language of mass of luminescence engraved on the interface of the moment, and the poetics written with that language. We are looking at the image of water and luminescence, yet what Lee has embedded on the cosmos-mirror is the scripture of water written with the language of light. Perhaps I merely read the preface of that scripture. The whole text is for the audience to read for themselves.
* ‘Water-Face’ signifies the nature and cosmos within the surface of water, and this is also the face of water.
Excerpt from The Cosmos-Mirror Gazing at the Water-Face: LEE Chang Soo, the Poetics of the Luminescence Mass Engraved in the Interface (界面) of the Moment
Gim Jong-gil ㅣArt critic