Silla tombs in South-Korea

A primeval form of land art


The royal tombs of Silla

Tumuli, or burial mounds, are found in various places all over the world. Gyeongju, the ancient capital of the Silla kingdom in Korea, is dotted with impressive mounds of grass-covered royal tombs. Some are so large that they resemble a small mountain from a distance. For more than a thousand years, these tumuli have preserved precious burial ornaments thanks to their ingenious compacted structure. But what strikes most is how elegantly their shapes are in dialogue with the surrounding land.

I became interested in them during my work on Korean dolmen, as I learned how the method of inhumation involves a dolmen or another form of burial chamber. Employing the same method, I photographed them with a large format pinhole camera. Together with the Goindol project, this work is an attempt to understand the landscape of Korea today.