Born and raised in Seoul, Korea, artist Jung Lee studied Fine Art Photography at the Royal College of Art in London, a period that saw Jung trying to bridge the gap between the English language along with its many surface formalities and reality. Her last solo show at ONE AND J. Gallery in September last year was inspired by French novelist Marguerite Duras’ last diary ‘C’est Tout’ and in Jung’s fashion, featured the artist’s interpretation of the hard to grasp gestures found in text such as silence and sighs. A sense of displacement is found not only in the loose neon-lit words that float in the sparse settings of Jung’s images, but her own life too; her first photographic project on Oriental women was a reflection of Jung’s own experience of living in London as a foreign student in her mid-twenties; her current home of a Seoul suburb, near the Demilitarized Zone between North Korea and South Korea, borders both the city and the country. Jung centres her work with the 'out of place' feeling that is born of these experiences and in turn, creates a world of her own doing where one previously did not exist.
My childhood memories affected my desire to be an artist subconsciously.
"I took piano lessons as a child. Although I was not good and talented at all, I just loved the stories and legends of Beethoven or Mozart. I seriously took up photography in my mid-twenties but I had never imagined becoming an artist in any field. When I later decided to study photography, I realised that photography was an ideal medium for people like me."
I have been exploring language and text in my work since studying at Royal College of Art in London.
"It was a time when I realised that language could never embody everything. For example, everyone would reply “Fine thank you, and you?” as means for an ideal response to everyday conversations regardless of how they really felt. That was when my ideas on language began to blossom and I soon started to combine my love of words with neon."
I am not interested in what looks complete or fulfilled.
"Instead, I am drawn to the concepts of incompleteness and lack. I take pleasure in finding something that looks imperfect or abandoned and adding my own narratives to it and in this way, I feel as though I have found hidden beauty myself. Despite these narratives, my work is less about delivering messages but wishing each viewer to face their own inner ‘voice’."
Visual sensations are the most important for my me and my work.
"It is not only about what I see, but also about what I imagine. I spend a lot of time observing people and wish to reflect the truth of life in my work. Although they might look like landscapes, my work is ultimately about humanity in the end. "