28 Jan 2016 — 12 Mar 2016
Lee Juri
미 끼 대 왕

GALLERY2, The Solo Exhibition of Juri Lee, who raises a fundamental question through an imaginary image

Juri Lee’s solo exhibition, which represents a landscape where a reality and an unreality are mingled in the arrangement of the shape conjured up by conscious and subconscious sense, will be held at the Gallery2 from January 28th to March 21st.
Even with all of the languages that exist in the world, they are still inadequate to explain Juri Lee’s painting. Therefore, you needn’t feel ashamed of being at a loss in front of her work. Paul Valery once said, “I feel sorry to talk about a painting in words” when he talked about the French painter Corot. There is no verbal equivalence for an intuitive painted picture. The position of painting in which the past and the present, imagination and experience, artificiality and naturalness, incident and sign, symbol and sensation are entangled together exists not ‘here’ but ‘there.’ Therefore, painting is just ‘being’ there, rather than explaining or representing something.
The scene of a construction site that appeared in Lee’s previous work represented a chaotic space beyond ‘there,’ a place that could not be formed into language. The artist named the place her ‘ground of imagination,’ wherein the plowed field, collapsed construction materials, heavy equipment, and busily moving people implied both creation and extinction. It is a painting that depicts an array of imageries conjured up in the artist’s mind without any preparatory drawing. Like the Japanese word game shiritori, one image evokes another image. In the game, a word proceeds from the final syllable of the previous word, but there is no context between the words. Likewise, in Lee’s work, a shape and another shape merely share the same space but they do not produce a meaning. The collision and embrace created by each element results in an unrealistic and unexpected scene. Intense and fascinating.
The title of this exhibition is Lord of the Bait. To be more precise, it is ‘Lord of the baits.’ The artist quoted from Freud’s definition of fantasy which was taken from Hamlet, “Your bait of falsehood takes this carp of truth,” and Lord of the Flies, which reveals cruelty and the desire for power in human beings through the boys confined to a desert island. The French literary critic Tzvetan Todorov defined the fantastic as a “moment of hesitation between belief and disbelief of the supernatural.” The loss of language we experience in front of Juri Lee’s painting stems from the fantastic.
Juri Lee’s paintings are combinations of shapes in a form of drawing. Imagery signified in the artist’s imagination appear as an individual unit in multiple works of hers. The imagery is not the artist’s personal memory or direct documentation of reality. Her painting is a repetition of a chance and an association. First, the artist creates marks on the canvas with a knife dipped in acrylic paint. Through the marks created by chance, she conjures up a pattern, then records it with a pen. And then the artist arranges the individual shapes made as a drawing in place. The intense primary color compensate for the dryness of the shapes which were distilled into drawing. The picture, where a narrative and context are removed, ignites fractions and tensions between individual elements, as well as an intriguing balance between them. The artist’s testimony of the fantastic convincingly becomes shapes and colors appearing in the painting.
Arranging things that exist in the world by a new order according to her sensibilities, and solemnly recording it, is what Juri Lee’s painting is about. Lee’s work makes viewers stammer words and urges them to look at it in a new light, rather than verbally explain anything. However, there is no such thing as absolute zero in a perspective. In other words, there is no absolute neutrality. In one image, consciousness and subconsciousness, reality and unreality, reason and contradiction, are intertwined. Hence, an image cannot refute. The writings about her painting cannot evoke as much fantasy as her paintings; hence, they make their best effort to dictate the images and effects, the reason and the genealogy conceived in the painting. It is unfortunate not to be able to adequately address her painting in words, yet it is fortunate to be able to see this exhibition.
골무인간 서식지, 162x224cm, acrylic and pen on canvas, 2016