Wasps and the Briggait are delighted to present 'The Elephant Vanishes', a solo exhibition from Yumin Shin.
Exhibition Opening: Friday 7th February, 6-8pm
Exhibition Continues: 10th-27th February
When the elephant disappeared from an elephant factory, I read about it in the newspaper. As soon as I read it, something popped into my head. It was an old flashback.
“Let’s say we all carry around this great unexplored ‘elephant graveyard’ inside us. Outer space aside, this is truly humanity’s last terra incognita. No, an elephant graveyard isn’t exactly right. This isn’t a burial ground for collected memories. An ‘elephant factory’ is more like it. There’s where you sort through countless memories and bits of knowledge, arrange the sorted chips into complex lines, combine these lines into even more complex bundles, and finally make up a cognitive system. A veritable production line, with you as the boss. Unfortunately, though, the factory floor is off-limits. Like Alice in Wonderland, you need a special drug to shrink you in. In fact, the factory here is coming to an end. Or to put it another way, your mind will be living there, in the place called the End of the World. Everything that’s in this world is missing from that world. There’s no time, no life, no death. No values in any strict sense. No self. In that world of yours, people’s selves are externalised into elephants” - the chubby girl in orange said.
I think of her, who waits me. I bought a pack of cigarettes, then phoned my apartment. Not that I expected anyone to answer, but I liked the idea of this being the last thing I did. After only three rings, the chubby girl in orange came on the line.
“You still there?” I blurted out in surprise.
“You’ve got to be kidding,” she said. “I’ve gone and come back already. I wanted to finish the book I was reading and I decided to live in your apartment.”
“In my apartment?”
“Yes, that’s right. I really like the place. You wouldn’t mind if I changed the sheets and curtains to orange?”
“Be my guest.”
“Take care,” she said.
“You too,” Said I. “Good I got to talk to you.”
“Have I given you hope for returning to this world?”
“No, it’s not that. Of course, I’m grateful, but that’s now what I meant. Even if no one would miss me, even if I left no blank space in anyone’s life, even if no one noticed, I couldn’t leave willingly. Loss was not a skill, not a measure of a life. And yet I still felt I had something to lose.”
“Listen,” she spoke. “Even if we lose your forever, I’ll always remember you, until the day I die. You won’t be lost from my mind. Don’t forget that.”
“I won’t,” I said, Then I hung up.
At nine, a package delivered. I cut the tape, careful not to damage the contents of the box. On top was crumpled newspaper. The papers print almost nothing about the elephant anymore. People seem to have forgotten that their town once owned an elephant. The grass that took over the elephant enclosure has withered now, and the area has the feel of winter. The elephant and the keeper vanished completely. They will never be coming back.