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LEE Hyun Joung

Capture d’écran 2019-05-06 à

A graduate in visual arts from Sejong University in South Korea, Lee Hyun Joung
develops a series of ink landscapes based on memories of her native country, which she
mixes with dream projections of vast, unreal places. The single horizon line is replaced
by a multitude of parallel and sinuous lines, which split and accumulate like geological
strata or sediment ripples, giving a reading grid to these aerial views without scale or

Tending towards abstraction, detail is evacuated in favour of the sensation of infinity and the uncertain nature of the element represented: a wave could just as easily be a mountain. Between each uninterrupted line, the blank space left vacant on the paper is not an inactive blank space. It corresponds to the idea, widely held in Taoist thought of emptiness and fullness, that the interval is what makes the connection between visible objects. And it is precisely after a period of silence, points out Lee Hyun Joung, that a line emerges: something happens against a background of nothing.

The lines, created to the rhythm of her body, are superimposed like musical staves or the
ripples of the foreshore left by the low tide: they swell and recede like a breath. Lee
Hyun Joung likens these forms to a path of life, an initiatory walk that is less a matter of a delimited stage than of a cyclical time, the one the Greeks called aiôn. Like the nature
(desert, land, sea) to which it refers, each line drawn in ink tends to be generic, i.e.
Abstracted from the artist's personal journey to have a more universal scope.

Almost exclusively blue or black, the ink is also writing, which Lee Hyun Joung deploys
on hanji sheets, popular Korean papers made from mulberry pulp. In Korea, hanji paper
is traditionally used for calligraphy, wallpapering the walls and windows of the house, and making objects. Mulberry leaves are immersed in water, kneaded, dried, cut and the
scraps are reintegrated to shape other leaves of which the artist preserves the irregularity
and thickness of the fibres. The resulting support is a material-palimpsest, like shreds of memory accumulated to form a blanket.

Lee Hyun Joung also evokes the traditional technique of bojagi, a kind of Korean
patchwork transmitted from generation to generation, whose primary function is
prophylactic and apotropaic. She reports that as a child, she was already inventing
landscapes from the damp stains on the hanji paper that covered the floor of her house.

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