Youjin Kim
Senior, Stamps School of Art & Design

Artist book (ink, charcoal on paper)


This artist’s book captures the expansive beauty of the Rocky Mountains, observed during a Canadian train journey. Using a blend of ink and charcoal, each page unfolds into a narrow strip, expressing the snowy landscapes in an abstract form. The work delves into profound questions about human existence, suggesting that the answer lies in embracing nature. By acknowledging our smallness in the universe and aligning with the enduring cycles of nature, the artwork conveys a message of finding meaning in accepting the uncertainties of life. Nature’s resilience becomes a guide, offering a profound perspective on the meaning of our existence.

This artist’s book showcases the expansive landscapes of the Rocky Mountains that I observed while traveling by train in Canada. Each page can be unfolded into a lengthy, narrow strip, and the snow-covered Rocky Mountains are depicted in an abstract manner using a combination of ink and charcoal. By looking through this book, I do want the audience to experience of being surrounded by nature and question about their existence.

As humans, we grapple with questions about our existence: Why do we live? What is the meaning of life? How should we best live? These inquiries have persisted since the dawn of human evolution, yet no perfect answers have emerged. Many philosophers have proposed their own answers, each differing from the others. However, I believe the answer is not far from us. It surrounds us – in nature.

Compared to nature, we humans are remarkably short-sighted. While we come and go from life frequently, nature can endure for hundreds or even thousands of years. Over these vast periods, it undergoes numerous cycles filled with uncertainty and change. Nevertheless, nature never resists or complains; it simply accepts it as the inherent order of the universe. Even the nature that endures for thousands of years goes with the flow, and that, I believe, is also the meaning of human existence.

Why we must inevitably face uncertainty remains unknown, but that’s the nature of the universe. By realising our smallness in the cosmos and acknowledging that we are an integral part of it, embracing and aligning with nature becomes the answer to our existence. As we discover beauty and astonishment while gazing at stars in the sky and immersing ourselves in the embrace of Mother Nature, perhaps an observer from another realm might find beauty in our existence.