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Park Jihye

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Park Jihye

Hometown: South Korea

Lives and Works: Seoul

 

In her paintings, a woman always takes the central position. When a figure appears, we are likely to look through the face first. But for the artist always show the women from the back, that typical seeing process is to be frustrated. It is at the very moment that the minute and delicate details which attracted the artist’s eyes such as the shapes of the muscles and bones in the subtle movement of the bodies, and the floral patterns or lace patterns on the clothes catch our eyes and become the real central motives of the paintings. The reason the artist always draws women from the back might be that she is much more impressed by the bodies, by the countenances made by the delicate movements of the sensitive muscles and bones, and by the sentiments in them rather than those of the faces. Thin bodies are naturally preferable. The tensive lines of the neck bones, the back bones, and the muscles are the emotional lines.

The works of Park Ji-hye have the power to hold the viewers. The viewers cannot withdraw their eyes from her works easily. It’s not for the extreme reality effects of her works. Excellent technique can catch our eyes for a moment, but it cannot hold our eyes not to leave. Then, what in these trivial routine scenes the artist unfold before our eyes mesmerize us? Why do we stand staring at the back view of the women for a while?

Isn’t it for the back view itself? Familiar but uncanny back views give us a feeling of deja vu. Where? While searching for the answer to that question, an interesting thing happens. Although the back views are the subjects of the gaze, they hide their gaze behind their anonymity and give back the viewers the active right of the eyes. It’s all because they are the back views. Now the viewers can examine the painting meticulously. Though we cannot identify the figure, we cannot stop searching for the uncanny familiar feelings of deja vu. Then we are to resort to the memories and mental images deep inside our mind. This accompanies some emotional vibrations and nostalgia. Some called that mood, the feeling of coming back of ‘there and then’ to ‘here and now’ through the works of art ‘aura’.

Now the gaze leads to the deep inside of the viewers. No matter what mental image they evoke, it might be the projection of their previous experiences. Above all, the art experience cannot but to be a reflexive experience. Like Narcissus who was fascinated by his own reflection in a pond, we are most attracted by an image reflecting ourselves. This might be the reason we are seized by the gaze of the picture for a while.

It’s hard to pinpoint why. Don’t know what makes us not to leave a picture soon. But that can be the very reason our eyes are attracted and seized by the pictures. Pictures like the works of Park Ji-hye.

Exerpt from exhibition preface for “2nd.-Moving things “, by Chung Sukyung (Aesthetics, Art Theory)

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