The artist book, and exhibition, SEL2020HEL Diary chronicles the year 2020. Documenting the making of a yearlong series of date paintings in which the daily air quality readings of Helsinki and Seoul translate into colour, the diary mixes personal events with global, unfolding as a one-year time-scape. Every morning of the year 2020, we monitored and recorded the air quality readings of the previous day in both of our home cities, Seoul and Helsinki. Based on this data we painted two monochromatic paintings, amounting to a total of 732 paintings, or, 366 pairs. The canvas on the left represents Seoul and the one on the right, Helsinki. We then painted the corresponding date so that it extends over both canvases, tying both the paintings and the cities together. Through this gesture, we try to give a concrete form, acrylic paint on canvas, to something as abstract as air quality data. The completed installation is a calendar of the year 2020, a colour-chart landscape that is made of, and portrays, the air pollution of the total 366 days of the year. The exhibition we present at einBuch.haus
concentrates on the artist book-diary that we, in tandem with the paintings, have been preparing during the year. Starting as an act of documentation, the diary quickly came to embody the more personal side of the project, filled with personal remarks next to political; climatic observations next to economical. A year ago, as we were about to start the working process, we knew that the project would demand full dedication of the entire year, entailing near complete social isolation. What we did not know was that a global pandemic would force pretty much the entire world into similar conditions. In an odd and surprising way, SEL2020HEL became a documentation of a pandemic – seen through air quality.