Sure enough, when we appreciate a work of art, we perceive ‘what it represents’ and ‘how it represents’ simultaneously. And what is relatively easier between the two is to talk about the former. This process is all done within the conventional scheme which you are aware of, where the appreciator prevents the flee of the representer and feels assured. However, when it comes to the latter, the whole situation is changed. All of the elements staying within the scheme begin to dream of fleeing (whether consciously or unconsciously). Both of what the representer intends to convey and the unconscious level that he does not to peep out in ‘how the work represent.’ It is here where the subtle dissonance between the representer and appreciator occurs. When the representer evokes in his works what lies beyond the appreciator’s cognizance, the latter feels uneasy for being obliged to see it. However, he should pay attention to it, for the intrinsic meaning of the work inhabits no less than the very place. Now, it is time to turn our gaze to the works of Park Jina.
1. What They Represent : What can you see in them? To begin with, there are people (or a person) in particular spaces (the open air, a party space, a nighttime park, an exhibition place). They do not seem to do special activities. They having forty winks, or eating something, or standing or sitting idle. Whether alone or with other people, they are situated just, as they are in that way, like nobodies. The artist seems to indicate specific persons, that is, the people around her, which is, nevertheless, not so important. Each of them is merely ‘someone’ who shows the activities.
2: How they Represent : What can you see about the? The tracks of brush strokes passing across swiftly on the canvases do not depict every detail of the subjects, but represent them only suggestively. Rather, the subjects are settled on the canvas somewhat awkwardly. The viewers’ eyes that otherwise could have been directed to what are represented are captured by the traces of the brushes. For all that, the subjects are neither reduced to utterly meaningless ones. It is true that they are not described closely, but the brush strokes running rapidly as if catching momentary memories and feelings, the colors and tones made by the multiple overlaps of them, and the very composition of the paintings represent the subjects simply but more distinctly. However, what is the most important is the eyes of the artist. The painter keeps objective and psychological distance from the subjects. She is located in the viewpoint of a sheer observer, even though she paints her acquaintances and the times she spent with them. Those who are in the picture planes do not make eye contact among themselves. They as individuals are just devoted to do their own works (that are in no way special). While lively and clamorous spaces are used as signifiers, the figures in them are separated from one another like lonely islands though the artist paints her acquaintances and the times she spent with them. Thus, the artist does not focus on each of the subject or the relation between them, but the world of the emotional and psychological lyricism created by them. This is most obviously shown by the Moontan series. A group of people are doing the same thing in the same place, but their activities are not unified as one. The rhetoric of ‘same’ is replaced with ‘different or individual.’ Moreover, what is represented here is not the subjects themselves but what is outside of them and then the outside creeps into the subjects to represent them.
EAT, SLEEP, HAVE VISIONS.
‘What to represent’ and ‘how to represent’ have been constant and unchanged throughout the Park’s pervious works, ‘what is represented’ and ‘how it is represented.’ And if there appears a change in this show, the divided picture plane moves to a unified one, which has more significance than that two or four pictures planes to a one. As is also implied by the title of this solo exhibition, Excursion, the artist has worked on meaningless behaviors found in the social system of production. The behaviors are exemplified particularly in the concrete contexts of the figures’ delicate motions on canvases. The similar but different four picture planes are suited for expressing not only the temporal difference but also the pictorial one through simple compositions and brush works. They are one, but simultaneous, are not, for the subtle difference (in terms not of time but also of picture itself)
The divided picture plane is fused into one in the Moontan series. As is suggested by a mat spread in the center, the figures gathered here for one purpose. However, Park presents them lacking unity and scattered: they are respectively immersed in their own trivial things. The minute differences found in the divided picture plane are combined in the same picture through different figures. Accordingly, they cannot collect in a mat in the center but hang around it, irrespective of why they initially intended to be here. The dark background occupying the large part of the series has also another meaning. It makes the views focus on the situation by cutting of the periphery of the canvas. As the figures exist individually, off from the center, the space is presented as isolated, floating, disconnected from the whole.
In this exhibition, Park chooses only some particular activities among individual activities, and more crowd places. People should meet, talk, smile, and rattle on, making connections with others in those very spaces. Nevertheless, those who are in Park’s paintings are deviated from the time and space, while doing activities represented by the artist. In A Last Bite, when viewers’ eyes travel along the big table in the center, they meet the moment when the figure in the middle are on the brink of eating something. Considering the situation, the room seems to be just emptied after many people who were there are gone: there are no more people, but only the traces of them. All situations are missing, but only the figure’s act of eating is emphasized. The space of deviation from the everyday life intersects the most visceral activity. In Sleep, a figure who falls asleep leaning back in the chair, also seems to be isolated from the party. Though place in the center, the figure is sleeping in the space where the party is undoubtedly held. The figure who is out of the place, not in place is also found in Man eating Pizza Under a Persimmon Tree. He is eating Pizza in great haste. The combination of a Persimmon Tree and pizza is unfamiliar. That is to say, he is out of the due place where people eat pizza. Those who are in Project Test and Grand Piano are doing something, unlike the figures in other paintings, and even their eyes meet or go in the same direction. However, they are overwhelmed by the space. Previously, Park has given weight more to figures than to space, more to their behaviors than to themselves. Nevertheless, in these two pieces, space overpowers figures and their acts. The blue light of the projector and the grand piano lying in the center like a coffin create the atmosphere of the whole space.
Park Jina paints the moments of everyday life. Thus, they can be easily found by us who live in the same age. However, those moments does not stop as personal ones, but have long effects upon the viewers. This is because the artist focuses not on ‘what to represent’ but on ‘how to represent. Park represents the most daily moment, but the viewers might experience the most anxious moment, that is, the moment deviated from the system constructed by themselves. But might it be the only moment when the everyday reality of man reveals itself?
Lee Deabeom (Art Critic)