Korean artist Jinseon Chon, a recent graduate of the Royal College of Art, uses mirror glass to make artworks. He scratches away areas of the backing to make complex and elegant patterns and clusters of abstract drawing that vary from the geometric to the gestural. These diagrammatic figures hover on the mirror’s surface, hanging in uncertain space, hiding and revealing the fractured images caught in reflection.
Chon’s interventions subvert the mirror’s function and purpose: its coherence is interrupted, and our perception is altered. He intimates a new arena of activity that is disclosed by an act of taking away, erasure becomes creative and results in addition and enhancement. To look into the glass is to view a newly superimposed layer of information that modifies the everyday experience of expecting to see our immediate surroundings and self-image reflected back at us.
Chon’s drawings are like mandalas. Their painstaking and careful inscription diagnoses a ritualistic activity that seeks to conjure a meditative state. The figures describe many paths and circuits and invite the viewer to follow, as if deciphering a maze. One can imagine that at some point a perceptual gate swings open and the viewer is invited to step into the land of the mirror.
We stare hard into these ‘pictures’, mesmerised by tracking the sinuous line and contour as it weaves and winds across the glossy surface. The artist’s engagement with the technical potential of his medium is easily overlooked. There is craft in his manipulations. The engraved markings and designs appear three-dimensional. This is an illusion, a function of working on mirror and serves to introduce a slight change in perception – the drawings appear to detach themselves and float just above the picture plane. By his subtle and elegant handling of the material Jinseon Chon brings about an encounter with a hidden, looking glass world.