The recent exhibition at Asia House, Transreal, presented two very different Korean artists side by side. There was a convenient area of overlap – both artists have produced mountain landscapes in red and white. But while one artist well-represented on these pages – Sea-hyun Lee – pursues his red landscapes with an almost obsessive single-mindedness, the other – Jin-kyung Lee – is more difficult to pin down. One recurring feature of some of the work on display was the use of pages from fire-damaged books as the canvas on which the calligraphy is executed: Lee’s studio was burnt to the ground in 2002, destroying most of her possessions and her artwork – a traumatic experience which has resonated in some of her subsequent work.
But on a happier note, she confessed1 to being guided more by ideas that might occur to her during a party rather than a long-term programme. But her versatility means that there is something for everyone to enjoy. From whimsical line drawings via calligraphy to folk painting or abstract mountain scenery, there are lots of well-executed ideas, but maybe nothing which identifies a theme or a style which is uniquely hers.
Transreal was at Asia House, 29 September – 17 October 2009. A few gallery shots of Lee Jin-kyung’s works are appended below.
- In the artist discussion at Asia House on 15 October