Shin Se-won (aka Sewon Shin/ Se Won Shin/ Shin Se Won/ Korean: 신세원, Hanja: 申世圓) is a Korean artist, more specifically referred to as a Trans-Artist.
He was a young innovative leader of a Korean religious foundation; his art provided a basis for the reformation of the Korean traditional religion known as Hanol-gyo. He retired from the spiritual leadership in order to introduce a new way of art called Trans-Art.
Sewon was well known in his youth as a prodigious painter until he discontinued his art and majored in Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Oxford University. However, the unexpected and sudden passing of his father, who was the founder of the Hanol religion (the religious re-establishment of the Korean national founding principle based on the philosophy of spiritual transcendence), eventually led him to return to art expressing ‘spiritual transcendence' based on his own experience.
- Oxford University, Politics Philosophy and Economics (PPE) B.A., M.A.
- (Former) CEO of HI&T Inc.
- (Former) Chairman of Hanon Group
- (Former) Primier Representative of Hanol religious foundation
- Honorary Consul of Iraq in Korea
- 신세원(Shin Se-won) Naver people
- "20C 위기 21C 번영으로 한국號 젊은 피가 이끈다" 21세기 한국리더 영파워 21인. 서울경제 2001-01-01 Seoul Economic Daily <The transformation of the 20C crisis into 21C prosperity by Korean young bloods> 21 young power leaders of Korea in the 21st century, January 1st, 2001
- Honorary Consulate of the Republic of Iraq in Seoul Official website
- "History of Hanol-gyo". Hanol-gyo official website. Retrieved 2015-11-10.
His father was the founder of the Hanol religion: the religious re-establishment of the Korean national founding principle based on the philosophy of spiritual transcendence, which foresaw the possibility of evolution in human consciousness from the ego-state to the transcendental(enlightened)-state, 5000 years ago.
As a son of an unconventional religious leader, Sewon experienced religious prejudice and discrimination from very early on in his childhood. The child became obsessive in painting, which was his only means to escape from the mental suffering caused by unbearable religious upheaval, inevitable personal sacrifice of freedom, as well as religious discrimination. Based on the refined painting skill acquired through his compulsive habit of painting, he was able to study abroad (Georgetown Preparatory School, the United States) as a reward of winning a national art competition.
He held two solo exhibitions as a prodigious painter in high school, but the failure to perform his new concept of installation art discouraged him in such a way that he eventually gave up his art and majored in Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Oxford University.
However, after the sudden passing of his father, he was obliged to take on insurmountable financial liability and the responsibility of restructuring his father's legacy, which eventually led him to return to art, expressing the sacred teachings on spiritual transcendence, not only based on his father's teachings, but from his own self-confirmation of the spiritual awakening experience.
Early experience & exhibitions
Sewon Shin studied in the United States as a reward of winning 1st prize in the 28th Korean National Youth Art competition at the age of 13 (At that time, Korea was under a strict military regime and studying abroad was prohibited).
He held two solo exhibitions in Seoul and Tokyo while he was in high school.
- First Solo Exhibition in Seoul, Korea at the age of 17
- Sponsor: Seoul Kyung-in Gallery, Monthly Art World
- Support: The Chosun Daily Newspaper
- Second Solo Exhibition in Tokyo, Japan at the age of 19
- Sponsor: Tokyo Odakyu Gallery, The Korean-Japanese Cultural Exchange Association
- Cooperation: The Sankei Newspaper
At the Tokyo exhibition, he introduced a new concept of art called 'Super-individualism art (i.e. Trans-Ego art)'. In conveying Super-Individualism Art, he combined music, scent, optical illusion and time & space factors, and proposed the use of an orchestra, a train and train station and even a whole mountain in the performance of his art.
Business & experience
After his attempt to use Seoul Namsan Tower to perform his new concept of installation art failed (due to city regulations), he decided to give up his art. After graduating from Georgetown Prep school, instead of pursuing art, he majored in Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Oxford University.
However, Sewon's father had a stroke while he was attending his son's graduation at Oxford (he was hospitalized in Radcliffe Infirmary), and died a year after he was transferred to Korea. Sewon gave up further studies and returned to Korea immediately.
His father was the founder of Hanol-gyo (the religious re-establishment of the 5000 year old Korean national founding philosophy based on ‘spiritual transcendence’), as well as a politician (the Presidential Candidate of the Unified Korea Party who ran for the Presidency of South Korea twice), and an entrepreneur (the Chairman of the Hanon Group).
After the founder died, the Hanon group and the Hanol-gyo foundation suffered critically from the Korean IMF financial crisis.
As a legal descendant, Sewon inevitably took on his father’s entire responsibility and restructured the foundation. He renounced all of his inheritance and donated most of his remaining personal assets for the financial recovery.
As a deputy Chairman of the Hanon Group and CEO of HI&T (a holding company), he restructured most of its subsidiary companies and finalized his father’s major business initiatives, including an agreement to develop one of the largest crude oil mines in Iraq (a consortium with Samsung, SK, Korean National Oil Development Corporation, where HI&T was the Managing Partner & Directing Initiator). He also acquired an official agreement to develop internet-telecommunication systems for the Iraqi government. (unexecuted due to the Iraq war)
His business and diplomatic contributions were recognized by both the Korean and Iraqi governments: on the request of the Iraqi National Assembly and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and after the approval of Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Minister’s approval), he was appointed to the Honorary Consul in 2000. He was very dedicated to humanitarian activities for children suffering from the war in Iraq. He supplied them with medicine and his brother, Se-Yong Shin established UHIC (United Help for International Children), an organization which is very active in helping suffering children all over the world.
In 2001, he was selected as one of ‘21 young power leaders of Korea of the 21st century' by the Seoul Economy - Financial Daily.
Spiritual art & experience
After stabilizing the Hanon group, Sewon was obliged to restructure the Hanol-gyo religious foundation. After assuming the leadership, he introduced the ”Art of Enlightenment and Awakening” which is the expression of the Hanol spirit in the form of art and architecture. He attempted to integrate ‘art’ with ‘the spiritual teachings of Hanol principles’ in order to transform Hanol-gyo into a more liberal, flexible and innovative organization. His art provided a basis for the structural evolution of Hanol-gyo.
In accordance with the founder’s last will, he succeeded in persuading the board and the Hanol spiritual committee to officially make religious conversion unnecessary and constitutionalized religious multiplicity: Hanol-gyo allows its participants and adherents to practice other religions as well.
According to the guidance to Hanol-gyo, he expressed the essence of the transcendental teachings on enlightenment and awakening - the self-liberation of consciousness.
"Illuminating the uncontaminated lights of Enlightenment Art could represent the quintessence of the Hanol Spirit better than a thousand books about its analysis or explanation." — Hanol-gyo official website, Hanol Temples
He officially proclaimed that the symbolic function of the regional chapels of HANOL could be replaced by the “Art and Architecture of Enlightenment”, and allowed particular traditional ceremonies and the formality of rituals to be substituted by a simple contemplation on the Enlightenment Art or meditation on self-awareness. He attempted to transform the existing belief system by integrating ‘Art and Spirituality’.
Sewon introduced the concept of 'Spiritual Audience' instead of the traditional notion of religious followers.
Trans-Art (also known as Trans-form Art or Transcendental Art) can be considered as the re-establishment of the 'Art and Architecture of Enlightenment and Awakening’ in a fine art form (non-religious form), based on the self-confirmation of the sacred teachings of the transcendental philosophy that he acquired; and the elaboration of "Super-Individual art (i.e. Trans-ego art)” which he introduced at the Tokyo exhibition.
In Part 1: Multi-Dimensional artworks, the artist expresses spiritual transcendence by using the multi-dimensional perspectives that he acquired from his own personal experience of spiritual awakening.
In Part 2: Tasting Art (‘The Cho’-Just Once), he integrates Art with Taste in order to express a glimpse of awakening by providing an extraordinary tasting experience.
In Part 3: Mobile Art project plan (Trans-Renaissance : Trans-Dystopia), he combines Technology with Art; the audience can participate in creating lights of Universal Trinity (a form of installation art) on a global scale, thereby expressing and experiencing their collective sentiment using a smart-phone application.
After Sewon Shin reformed the Hanol-gyo foundation, he resigned from all of his duties and returned to his art in order to introduce a new form of art called Trans-art.
According to the official website, "Trans-Art is ‘art’ that transcends the conventional form of art: the Trans-artist attempts to express the ‘Enlightenment and Awakening’, which is beyond ‘Form’, by using the ‘multi-dimensional expression method’ that he acquired from his own experience of the ‘enlightening and awakening’ process."
“After the unexpected passing of his father, he experienced absolute despair. The inability to extricate himself from the inescapable quagmire of his religious destiny forced him to suffer a serious mental breakdown. It compelled him to reach the decision to commit suicide, which seemed to be inevitable and the only choice to him then.
However, at the critical moment of self-extinction, he experienced 'Gyun-Sung: a glimpse of enlightening and the following determination of unconditional surrender to the suchness of Life’, which was the beginning of the irreversible process of the ‘gradual awakening in his consciousness’.”— Trans-Art official website, A Brief history of the Trans-Artist
In Part 1 multi-dimensional approach of the ‘Awakening series’, he is expressing the process of ‘Ego dis-identification’ that he acquired from his suicidal experience, which caused the separation of the ‘Ego-mind (involuntarily accumulated mental synapse and construct of mind-structure)’ and ‘Consciousness (Original state of being or True-Nature)’, initiating the gradual awakening in his consciousness.
From the enlightening experiences, he came to realize that ‘art’ and ‘spirituality’ share one and the same nature of showing a doorway into another dimension of consciousness where our ‘true essence beyond form’ is indwelling. He is expressing a glimpse of ‘enlightenment and awakening’ which is ‘beyond form’ by using the ‘form of Trans-art’.
According to the guidance to Trans-Art, Trans Art Part 1, the multi-dimensional expression of "Enlightenment and Awakening", can be perceived and experienced as an indirect experience of ‘Spiritual Transcendence’ and a ‘Glimpse of Awakening’ in the form of art – “the preview of the Ego dis-identification which entails the separation of Mind (Ego) & Consciousness (True Nature)”.
In his major work, the ‘Opus Awakening series’, the artist shows the consecutive stages of the ‘Enlightenment and Awakening’ process based on his own experience. The series comprises 'Awakening Dimensions', ‘Initiation of Awakening’, ‘Awakening True-Nature’, ‘Flash of Enlightening’, ‘Trans-Perceiving Ego’, ‘Dark-side of Ego’, ‘Trans-Quantum Physics of Mind’, ‘Trans-Perceiving Mental Synapse’, ‘Self-Liberation’, ‘Breaking Free’, ‘Quest for Immortality’, and ‘Trans-Perception’.
Trans-Art Part 2 Tasting Art, is to express and experience a glimpse of your ‘True Nature : your inner quality which allows you to recognize beauty in the first place’ by providing an extraordinary tasting experience.
The artist uses ‘taste’ as a means to express a glimpse of awakening by providing a 'once in a life time tasting exhibition' for an audience to experience the moment of speechless and mindless state of consciousness. His first Tasting Art exhibition was held at the UE restaurant and cultural space, Samsungdong, Kangnamgu, Seoul, Korea, introducing opus 1 ‘Tasting Blossom’, opus 2 ‘Korean Suicide Stopper’ and opus 3 ’Pyong Yang Naeng Myeon’.