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Yun-hee Seo’s Intervals of Memory
Generally, a painting in Indian ink is called the art of space, and the art of time. The art of space is a well known expression that anyone can understand. As for the sense of time, generally ink-stick is made of carbon and glue, so it refers to the properties resulted from the thin layer of glue between strokes. Yunhee Seo’s works express this sense of space and time very well. There are very small people and the space that is hundreds of times larger which is not necessarily empty. There, you can feel the sense of time of the ink-stick that has soaked through into the paper screen......
Ugh! However, let us take a closer look. What looked like paper screen is actually a canvas, and what looked like ink marks was black tea! She created traces of her own memories with black tea, pine bark, and clamshell, and then by repeatedly erasing those traces with sandpaper or chisel as if erasing her memories, she made an expression of time and space. To the artist, media such as steamed and driedtea leaves, pine tree that has gone through countless time, seashells that have resisted the waves, have the qualifications of artistic symbol which enable her to express the inevitable and environment, time and space, past and future, nature and humankind, the universe and humankind, truth and fact, fantasy and reality, as memories and traces of past life. The lakes, mountains, and rivers crudely located in there, along with the people, make the relationships vague and sometimes make them approach us as descriptive landscape.
The artist uses deep distance and instead of the reiteration of ink-stick lines, she expresses ‘sense of depth in space’, an important part of her works, by using spreading and effacing of ink-stick and tea bags. It can be said that this has a thread of connection with the depth of memory and the depth of thought. The artist expressed the emotions she felt during the 10 or so years she lived overseas, by drawing a scrubby character and the gap between herself and her environment by contrasting that character with the background. If you look at her works at first glance, or in photographs, it looks hazy and weak, but when you see the actual work, you can see it is sensitive as a woman, but feel a small strength of ‘depth’. Particularly, that strength shows in her works beyond number 100, and I think maybe it is because she has such a great talent in the use of space. At a time when the mainstream consists of the extremely realistic paintings of young artists, Yunhee Seo’s work has a sense of lacking 2%, but it has a quiet and simple charm. It is these works of art that have a plain taste like food made without spices, rather than works that make a ‘loud’ sensational first impression, that you never grow tired of, as if it had always been yours.
It is true that the art market follows a distinct trend. However, when choosing a work of art, especially by a young artist, I think the most important factor to consider is whether they can continue to create persistent work or not rather than merely following the trends. In that aspect, starting over despite a long inactive period, Yunhee Seo’s passion for work is probably stronger than anyone. Maybe this deep passion painted as a thin layer after another enable her to continue painting and to leave more works of art.

By Gwak, Hyeran / Seoul Auction  

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