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Her Ways of Make Up, Everything Comes to the Surface

 It is close to a shadow.  The standard by which human beings distinguish the surface, the skin and outside silhouette are on the other side of the light where objects exist in darkness. 

The birth of an image paradoxically contains elements of death.  A birth of an image is closely related to the implication of darkness and myth.  Myth is perhaps a testimony of reality, more than truths describing the reality itself. 
“Now everything will appear on the surfaces,” Gilles Deleuze has once declared.  He metaphorically explains the surface as “an effect in which Simulacres stops hiding in the underground and takes its place on the surface.”  He defines the effects of the surface as “phantasme.” 
Before interpreting Eri, Eunyoung SONG’s work, I had to first question the original nature of painting.  What does the painter want to express through her/his work?  Is she trying to explain the dialectic relationship between the object and its shadow through her various experiments with different types of medium in her effort to capture the rupture between the shape of an object and image? 
Despite her various experiments of different types of medium, SONG defined herself as a “painter.”  In her process of creation, mirror, photography and other materials are used with their central focus being painting.  Gilles Deleuze’s quote about everything appearing on the surface needs to be applied regards to the surface and the process of creation. Deleuze juxtaposed the effects of surface and creation and led it to a sense of time and activity.  In addition, it should be emphasized that time-activity is with subversion.  In other words, subversion takes place because it goes out of the convention of time and activity in regards to cause and result. 
Song’s subversion starts from the ambiguous relationship between the actual image of self and the reflected image in the mirror.  That is the “difference” and “self” simultaneously.  Perhaps this is the reason that separates the two when the artist draws him/herself with the oils.  This is the artist marking his/her self-reflection through artistic activity.  Her attempts of achieving this seemed like an act of leaving one’s mark as well as leaving scars.  Based on the dictionary definition of the word “mark,” it is defined as an act that is expressing one’s characteristics outwardly.  On an etymological stance, the word “mark” was used as a verb meaning to walk, to oppress or to leave memories or traces behind.  As a noun, it was originally used as a boundary, a signal or as a scar.
In relation to SONG’s actions, it can be interpreted that the work “Following” is a process of  her marking the contours and boundaries.  Simultaneously, she is trying to leave the traces of the present- something that Deleuze referred to with the words “already” or “yet”- through her works.  At this point, I have to question whether she was deliberately trying to achieve subversion in her works or what subversion meant for the painter. 
Mirror shoes many capsized images in many different meanings.  Light can mean reflection, changing right and left or visually intercepting or pulling back an object’s image.  In Robert Smithson’s work, mirror appears as an object that connects the earth and the heaven while acting like a ladder between the capsized world between the heaven and the earth.  Daniel Buren’s work at Contemporary Art Center of Bordeaux showed the mirror showed the ceiling of a place as its bottom, projecting a rather violent sentiment through the mirror.  Buren’s “The eyes of Cyclone” at his retrospective exhibition in New York should be mentioned for its recommendation of subversion between the reality and image by placing a large wall that seemed to cut the Guggenheim Museum’s snail-shaped structure in half. 
The effects of mirror appears in Song’s works often from her earlier works.  Like Velasquez’s “Las Meninas” the mix of the subject and object takes place in SONG’s works.  In her earlier works, Song mixes narcissistic images of painting and photography.  She takes a self-portrait in black and white and develops it on the mirror.  Then she colors that and leaves her real self in black and white.  The photography here can be understood as a creation of subversion between the light and shadow.  The reality and the painter herself here are left in black and white while the image of the mirror is transformed through reproduction of painting. 
Subversion or transposition would be interpreted negatively regardless of the artist’s consciousness at the state of creation.  However, this negativity tends to be a love-hate relationship.  SONG denies herself.  Yet on the image that she loved the most- that is herself- she decided to apply lipstick.  That is how her work met myth.  She denied herself and led herself go blind through that false image. 
The narcissistic obsession of the author meets the outside world as time passes.  Ultimately, narcissism and other elements come to the surface and face the world. Deleuze compared this process of transference of inner emotions to Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in the Wonderland.”  He explains, “events only take place in the periphery and proliferate in the periphery.  Instead of going deeper in the opposite end of the surface, they slide sideways.”  Also, he adds, “because this slide takes place, it is possible to move to the other or the opposite side.” 
From her latest exhibition, I was able to observe the disappearance of reality in her work with videos.  Instead of the weight of reality, false images or hallucinations take place.  Disappearance and replacement of one dimension can also be explained through her painting.  What is interesting to note is that, for a moment, the relationship between reality-image led to purity in images.  To quote Deleuze again, “transference of an object to a non-object takes place as one follows the boundaries and surfaces.”  In other words, it is safe to resume that this transference of objects to non-objects can be replaced with the transference of true existence to images. 
Subversion, transposition, transference and ideals represent SONG’s works.  She destroys the boundaries of various media in her work.  But with the photo frames on the screen or frames acting as elements of images while creating additional boundaries within the screen, I was able to extract the concept of “paradox” through Song’s works.  This theory of paradox also represents Deleuze’s theory of creation.  Present lies between past and the future, between “already” and “yet.”  And the present is always between here and there, without being included into anything.  The moment one talks, it already becomes a past.  Just as an artist tries to capture him/herself and the world on the surface of a mirror, the present disappears more and more.  However, between those moments, Deleuze said, human beings are able to experience creation. 
Therefore, attempts of subversion of the artist’s life through mirror would always be a failure.  However, there is creation inside such mirror.  This is because creation is not subversion, but more like a change of position.  This abstract concept of creation may come across as a compulsion that may baffle some individuals.  However, Deleuze’s creation is emphasized through the surface, the slide sideways and the transference between past and the future.  Hence, one may presume that Song’s creation is placed between the beginning and the end of her work where she intentionally tries to place herself in the myth.  Through her assertion of herself in the myth, she attempts self-subversion.  Self-denial and attempts to become another person is probably one of the most common desires of human beings.  And expressing this denial and creating or attempting something out of it, I feel, is the true purpose of arts.  But the goal here is not only to arrive at the state of self-affirmation. 
Christian Boltanski mentioned earlier this year in his preparation for Moscow Biennale that “the artist’s face is sort of a mirror for him/her.  He/she should be able to erase him/herself.  And through that, he/she should invite others to fill that space.  Erasing oneself continuously and letting others take such spot is what art is about.” 
Before concluding this essay, the grand theory of life is actually taking place near the surface of our existence, near our skin.  Sorrow, happiness, anger and pleasure do not take place just in the heart and the head.  To borrow from the French, they use “à fleur de peau,” meaning extreme sensitivity.  This refers to the action of the emotions inside a person appears on the surface as “goose bumps.”  Therefore, everything is exposed on the surface after this process takes place. 
SONG’s “Memory of a Blind person” expresses the truth about life that one cannot help but lose at a certain point of life.  The interpretation of her narcissism resulting into “otherness” is very interesting.  However, SONG’s recognition of the impossibility of including herself through the intermittent traces of lines and finding herself through the effects of the mirrors, Boltanski’s quote would ring true to many of SONG’s audience. 
Jung Hyun
The quotes by Jill Toulouse in this essay are from “Logic of Meanings (Logique du sens)” by Gilles Deleuze. 
Christian Boltanski’s interview is from the documentary produced by Pavel Lounguine that was aired on France’s ARTE-TV’s METOPOLIS on October 15, 2005. 

By Jung Hyun / Art Plastique

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