discover korean artist jung lee's sparse neon-lit world

Jung Lee explores ‘the void’ and ‘words left unsaid’ both in her photography and installations that combine vacant spaces with poetic neon-lit narratives. 

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. "

This Week

making codes: behind the scenes

Take another at director Liza Mandelup's Making Codes video, a look behind the scenes at digital artist and creative director Lucy Hardcastle's piece 'Intangible Matter' that features producer Fatima Al Qadiri, artist Chris Lee and a host of more leading digital artists.

Read More

making movement: behind the scenes

Take a look behind the scenes in filmmaker Agostina Galvez’s Making Movements: a look at the making of The Pike and the Shield: Five Paradoxes with ballerina Nozomi Iijima and other leading movers and shakers from the world of dance including choreographers and dancers Holly Blakey, Aya Sato and the duo Project O. 

Read More

making films: behind the scenes

Take another look behind the scenes in director Eva Michon's Making Films with Alma Har'el video: a look at the making of JellyWolf and the current state of play within the film industry through the eyes of female filmmakers championing diversity, and Alma Har'els Free The Bid initiative. 

Read More

making images: behind the scenes

Take another look behind the scenes at photographer Harley Weir’s journey in capturing five women from around the world as well at a number of other creators defining the image of today in documentary filmmaker Chelsea McMullan’s Making Images video. 

Read More

making exhibitions: behind the scenes

Take a look behind the scenes in director Christine Yuan’s Making Exhibitions with Rebecca Lamarche-Vadel: a look at the making of Just A Second: A Digital Exhibition Curated by Rebecca Lamarche-Vadel, inspired by CHANEL Nº5 L'EAU, and a look at other leading curators and collectives from the art world including BUFU, Rozsa Farkas, Fatos Ustek, Angelina Dreem and Yana Peel.

Read More

seeing sound: in conversation charlotte hatherley & carly paradis

Two of London’s most sought after figures in visually-shaped music meet.

Read More

lizzie borden: feminist trailblazer

As her magnum opus returns to UK shores, Lizzie Borden – the visionary artist behind Born in Flames – talks rebellion, feminist artistry, and her nostalgia for 70s NYC.

Read More

rebecca lamarche-vadel's
just a second

Rebecca Lamarche-Vadel is the Paris based curator for the Palais De Tokyo. Dedicated to modern and contemporary art she puts on large scale exhibitions that span installation, dance, sculpture, photography and spoken word. For The Fifth Sense she created a digital exhibition based on the transformative power of CHANEL’s Nº5 L’EAU.

Read More

reba maybury: she’s got the power

We sat down with the editor, writer and dominatrix Reba Maybury to discuss her taboo-breaking publishing house Wet Satin Press, her latest novel Dining With Humpty Dumpty and what it means to be a woman in control.

Read More