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Creating an Empty Space in Between

November 4, 2023 @ 8:00 am November 27, 2023 @ 5:00 pm

Creating an Empty Space in Between

Ji Yeon Jeong

4 – 27 November 2023

Opening: Saturday 4 November, 2-4pm

This exhibition combines folk paintings with Chaekgeori, and paintings of common people using the five cardinal colours; Korea’s traditional colours.

Chaekgeori is a historic painting genre that reflected the hearts of scholars and the upper class of the Joseon Dynasty (1392 – 1897). As the pursuit of knowledge was a valued past-time for the Joseon elite, books are the dominant subject matter of these still life paintings, which were often placed in living rooms or studies to cherish books and keep them close at hand. 

Characterised by multiple-perspectives and geometric patterns, Chaekgeori paintings were mainly produced as eight or ten panel folding screens, displayed in the homes of scholars and officials.

On the other hand, most of the paintings of common people by unknown authors were drawn by untrained artists. Such paintings were subsequently not limited by format, and objects were depicted with imagination, wit, and humorous expressions.

The paintings in Ji Yeon Jeong’s exhibition combine the dignity of the nobility and the creative freedom of the common people. Alongside monochrome paintings, a series of works represent objects which create their own space within a bookshelf, freely enjoying their world just as the toys in the film Toy Story come to life when no one is around—it could be said that the pictures on a nobleman’s bookshelf come to life when no one is around. 

This exhibition expresses the ways in which, as immigrants, we can freely enjoy all cultures in a multicultural society and live in harmony by creating our own space in an often confined environment.

About the Artist

Ji Yeon Jeong’s art practice is based on traditional Korean values, such as respect for heritage and the investigation of new ways to present inherited knowledge and perpetuate values. She seeks to transform historic subjects into new images, converting local materials and traditional techniques into contemporary art.

Ji Yeon Jeong is a practicing artist, educator and curator. An MFA graduate of Elam School of Fine Arts, she has been teaching traditional Korean folk painting in Tāmaki Makaurau since 2019. Recent curatorial and community projects include the exhibitions Minhwa (Lake House Arts), Harmony in Culture (Watershed Gallery) in 2023 and the Banchado Relay Community Project in 2021 at Glenfield Mall. Ji Yeon Jeong also has a Graduate Diploma in Art History from the University of Auckland (2020), a Graduate Diploma in Bicultural Professional Supervision from Te Wānanga o Aotearoa (2014), and a BFA in Chinese Traditional Painting from Yanbian University (2008).

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