Somebooks/Cho sunkyung, Seoul, Korea The Thorn Mountain Text and illustrations by Park Sunmi

With this “first work” The Thorn Mountain, Park Sunmi returns to the earliest most profound sense of illustration. The huge plant absorbs the influences from an outside world while still remaining a plant. It is a philosophical statement, suggesting that everything can undergo the same process of condensation. The cactus grows, twists, exists and progresses on its own. It could even fit comfortably into a sitting room. But like a Gulliver, it is beset at several points with houses, roads, huts, windows and verandas, a world that could be ours. Clinging to one of the most ancient symbols, a living plant, this world of dark colours and lines, its somber horizons narrowly confined, seems inhabited by hidden presences. A very modern metaphor is here deployed with the rhythm of an ancient fable, giving form to very real childhood anxieties. For as we climb the vertical city we do not know whether we will find a flower at the top.