Song Myung-jin stated in an interview that she enjoys standing at the borders between plant and animal, natural and man-made, the static and the dynamic, the two-dimensional and the three-dimensional. Virtually no one can understand one’s work as well as the artist. Her recent work shows these characteristics as well. Gripping momentary images stemming from the movement of ever-changing smoke shows the linking stage between the static and the dynamic. Unlike the original type of airy or watery flowing shape, her make-over to more solid and harder sculptural matter allows the viewer to get a glimpse of her attempt to hover around the borders between air, liquid, and solid. The turf and trees in her pictures have something to do with certain horrible traits found in animals, while the animals in the pictures or the human figures move back to a floral finger shape, as undifferentiated types, and represent an early stage in evolution. The landscape in her work includes rugged primeval forests in horrible rain storms and a seemingly unworldly nature. Yet, it feels like an artificial landscape bound by rigid principles, which may almost suffocate beholders. Therefore, nature gains artificiality and manmade things gain natural traits, which turn them into totally strange forms by deserting their inherent utility. In terms of the relationship between two-dimensionality and image, in this exhibit she persistently pursued aplat, a monochromatic flat surface that is dramatically in contrast with the infinite space that shares a very shallow surface. As if she is color blind for red and green, her pictures avoid any combination and confusion of colors to form a pseudo-monochromatic world, thus reaching to a state where it is not necessary to distinguish between red and green.
The flamboyant change conjured by the harmony of the elements mentioned above has reached its zenith. Now her signature symbolic system has been deeply intensified and apparently leads us to the middle of a mysterious forest of symbols.
Every form of art is basically involved with the process of unfamiliarizing what has been perceived as something fixed. If it were not for the escape from the mundane routine of everyday, Arabian Night
could not have gained such a great deal of timeless popularity. Creation is primarily concerned with reinterpreting the world from one's own unique perspective. The world goes through a drastic change while passing through the imagination of the artist. It was the way Rembrant and Van Gogh changed the world as did Cezanne and Picasso. The artists with these special perspectives take us to another world of a new kind. Therefore, a certain type of silent contract exists between the artist and the viewer. In other words, this means that they accept some one else's perspective and let it work for themselves for a while.
It didn’t take long for Song to figure out the silent artistic contract between the artist and the viewer as well as the necessity of unfamiliarization. Therefore, her vigorous attempts to get a grip on objects with her own naked eyes can be easily found. It wasn't, however, a long time until she realized that a reckless unfamiliarization could make her work seem too rough. Careless overuse may cause a sense of satisfaction from the exploration of uncanny things or the unconscious, imaginative world of fairy tales in a dream-like, but unreliable realm. In addition, it may lead into another superficial repetition of Surrealistic art, which is also dangerous.
When taking a look at Song's recent work, it is noticeable that she moves ahead of superficial unfamiliarization and consistently ponders the relationship between herself and her painting, and further the relationship between painting and society. Besides, she takes the matter to the level of aesthetic and philosophical contemplation, establishing her own interpretation as her signature. In no way does Song want to provide the viewer mere visual enjoyment, nor does she insists upon delivering some type of philosophical and sociological message. If one tries to focus on the descriptive function in her visual interpretation of finger-sized humans as somewhat stupid, this could be the same as giving up the entirety of her painting. The philosophical message in her pictures is about letting the unfamiliar aspects gain attention by providing clues that allow for a different perspective. When looking at all objects with the naked eye, a huge metaphorical world that was previously unseen comes to appear along with the reinterpretation of previously hidden significances. Song's painting suggests this unique metaphorical world, where objects share things in common and yet make each other much more distinguished.
Lee Sou-kyoun / Sungkok Art Museum chief curator