Review about "Corresponding"
in the exhibition <Between Man and Place>
Corresponding, Lee Hyunjean's single-channel video piece,
a woman is seen swinging her head from side to side.
As the video progresses the woman's motions amplify
and the momentum begins 'taking control' of the video
frame. With growing intensity, the head swings rock
the video frame to and fro like a sail of a ship caught
in crosswinds. As the frame swings and shifts from its
axis it exposes a black background.
The sound of the motion cutting through the air is puzzling:
Are we hearing the swinging frame or the flying hair?
The motion of the frame is equally puzzling: Is the
swinging video frame displayed within another black
Reminiscent of Buster Keaton's meta-film antics (walking
through the screen to join the action ) yet meditative
and trance like in its effect, Corresponding is an evocative
piece which questions the very nature of the space of
representation. At the same time, it offers a visual
metaphor for the relationship between subject-matter
-Critique by Romy Achituv (Artist, Critic, and Visiting Professor of New Media, Ewha University, Korea)
from introduction of <Eight
were asked simply choose the best work among the submissions.
Winners in both years work in a variety of media, but
despite the heterogeneity of their approaches, one can
sense several common interests. The issue of Korean identity
surfaces in a number of works here. So does what we might
dub a collage mentality – an interest in bringing together
apparently disparate elements to create a new synthesis.
At the same time, artists’ field of reference varies greatly.
Some artists focus on objects in the real world, transforming
them into metaphors or symbols of larger forces. Others
probe the psyche, and deal with states that exist primarily
in the human mind.
interest in hybridity is evident in the work of all four
2004 winners. First place winner Hyun Jean Lee’s theme
is the “in between.” In her single channel and video installations
this can mean the psychic space between different consciousness,
the experiential space between nature and culture, or
the philosophic space between the virtual real of art
and the “real” existence of viewer. This latter is of
particular interest to her, and she has explored a number
of ways in which these different modes of reality are
blended and merged.
Willow Tree,“ real and virtual trade places. A projected
image of a willow tree plays against a “real” environment
strung with hundred of ribbons of hanging tape. But which
is more true to nature--A video reproduction of an actual
tree or a simulated tree composed of tape which moves
and drifts like the branches of a tree? A similar conundrum
occurs in “Corresponding”
in which the motion suggested by video image of a woman’s
turning face turns out to be created by actual movement
of the video screen. With such works Lee ushers the viewer
into an imaginative realm where ordinary coordinates of
time and space no longer seem to apply.
-Critique by Eleanor Heartney (Art
critic, Author, Contributing Editor of Art in America and Artpress)
Jean Lee’s promising work in video installation offers a contemporary
art experience that eloquently raises issues about time, personal
experience and nature. Her artworks provide a layered space
where metaphors of natural science and representations of human
self-awareness interact to create a delicate ecology. Works
such as “The Sea – recognition of sea space” and “Melting Ice”
are sensitive examples of Lee’s formalism where she skillfully
integrates virtual space and real objects. The (distancing)
coolness of video contrasts with the immediacy of sculpture
to create affecting natural environments that challenge our
by Robert Bordo (Associate Professor, Cooper Union School of
Jean Lee’s video installations present evidence of the inhibited
world in environments that embrace the spectator. The rustle
of leaves, the crash of waves or the sound of a breath are her
media. These environments invite the viewer to discover the
“in-between space” that Lee constructs.
her work from 2000 entitled “The Willow Tree,” nature is evoked
in the projected image of the willow in an environment of hundreds
of hanging tape ribbons. The tape mimics the flow of the windblown
willow leaves in a clever manipulation of synthetic material
representing the natural world. Her other 3-D video installations
such as “The Sea –recognition of sea space” invite comparison
to artists such as Tony Oursler and Diana Thater who merge sound
and video in a painterly style with a rich visual vocabulary.
The spectacle of the video surrounds the viewer and transforms
the environment of the gallery.
latest works, such as “A Bead Ball Table,” a collaboration with
Jeong Han Kim, are interactive, requiring the participation
of the viewer who has now crossed into the virtual space from
the “in-between space” she has created in earlier works. This
new direction rewards the spectator with a more intimate view
of Lee’s exceptional vision.
by Michael Duffy (Museum of Modern Art, New York)
Jean Lee’s video experiments with motion involve the mysteries
of illusionary space. Her trajectory offers a fresh visual experience
of fleeting spatial dimensions.
imposed on images is sometimes interactively induced, but more
often it simulates forces from nature: wind, fire, and water,
and the objects in space may be already moving like the dancer
dancing, “bead balls” rolling, and artificial willow leaves
rustling, or stationary piles of old newspapers, cardboard boxes,
or three dimensional geometric shapes.
Lee’s beautifully constructed formal space, artifice and nature
have no meaning, where real and virtual objects work together
in a perceptual dynamic. Particularly commendable in this regard
is “White Space in Black Box,” where the transient emergence
of spatial dimensions is projected with quite confidence; rhythms
of pacing, turning, and stopping of a multiplying figure that
vanishes into black or into herself just as rhythmically and
repetitiously, make the hidden dimensions of white space magically
appear for a moment. This young artist has an ability to challenge
our visual perceptions of space.
by Wolhee Choe (Art critic)
2004-2006 Hyun Jean Lee All rights reserved.