1998 Critique on Universal Reality _ Lee, Ju Heon (Art Critic)

Critique on Universal Reality

Lee, JuHeon (Art Critic)

Jeong SoYoun is interested in telling specific reality. Critiquing the dichotomy of “I-The other”: “Center-Border”, she pays attention to the importance of language and its narration. The recent works of Jeong SoYoun are consisted in three parts: , the enlarged photos of Barbie doll wearing her own engagement and marriage dresses, , vertically displayed photos of an eye, and , the display of toys such as Mickey Mouse purchased in a department store.
In , Jeong SoYoun brings her strong indictment against the ideology of marriage which fetters woman’s role and position in the society. Needless to say, the hero and heroin of engagement and marriage are bride and a groom. The reason that a bride usually gets more attention in the ceremony is not due to her superior position to a groom. She is adorned like flowers, because she needs to get public recognition as ‘beautiful other’. A bride’s position is determined by the society. A groom, as an agent of the society, tries to be ‘the master of a bride’. The ceremony of engagement and marriage is a site of flattering the life and the position of women confined by the patriarchal society and culture with lavish embellishment. In her work, dress reminds the viewers of a bride’s position falling into ‘object-other’. This regulation in the form of costume is a device to coerce her consciousness and behaviors to be dominated by ideology. Through the work, Jeong SoYoun captures the moment when the form regulates the life and its content leaning heavily on dominant ideology.
In , the artist transfers the image of an eye into that of a sexual organ. The image of an eye is projected over the wall and repeatedly overlapped on one another with changing direction of lights and shapes. Sensing these delicate changes, Jeong SoYoun visualizes incessantly growing sexual desire and its draft. Considering the fact that an eye is not a conventional metaphor of a female sexual organ, her approach seems more or less eccentric. However, her metaphor can be accepted as a legitimate one in that the tension between the inside and outside of the body is revealed though cleavage of flesh and that the emphasized viscousness of the cornea in an eye suggests sexual allusion. In her work, an eye becomes the expression of desire identified with the object gazed at. Therefore, the artist delivers the relation between over-flourishing objects of desire and a sexual organ hinting desire, as reference points of contemporaries. Nevertheless, an eye cannot stop being an eye even for a moment. The instant we intend to gaze at an eye as a female sexual organ like voyeurists, we confront an eye and its pupil reflecting our gaze. My identity, as a subject of voyeurism, is exposed and I cannot remain as the subject of gaze: I become the object gazed at. Desire, as in her work, tends to be curbed by penetrating eyes in the end, whether the eyes are those of God, of other people, or of myself. This restraint is possible, because desire spawns guilt in its bearer’s deep mind. Whatever the object of desire is, however, this kind of a penetrating eye is always buried in desire waiting for the moment to open and to reflect the gaze. Jeong SoYoun employs an eye as the object of desire in order to recognize these conflicts and to articulate ‘realism of desire’ in ironic ways. Her work is telling stories about the absurd situation of contemporaries, the condition promoting the absurdity-most of all desire-, and about subject which cannot help getting schizophrenic living in such tension.

[REVIEW] 1998 SUMMER P41-P42