2013 Park Younjeong
Hyesook Yoo discovers herself through an act of drawing, represents the result of this act as a work of art, meeting the moment when her own time and space becomes history in the process. This work attitude is process art in that it shifts its focus to image from form, and puts emphasis on the process of creation and communication. Sculptor Anthony Gormley said drawing is a spiritual graph. In this regard, it is possible to interpret Yoo’s drawing as a link of numerable rings physically and spiritually associated with surrounding spaces rather than pictures minutely depicted on a plane. The artist also defines drawing as “things with which an individual who craves freedom of expression and thinking creates and elicits a language from the world”. In this sense Yoo’s drawing work is the thinking of the body in another way and the accumulation of unconscious memories integrated into actions.
Yoo untied significant knots in her career as a painter, while depicting a common peanut shell as large as a man. Yoo confesses that she met the artist herself looking at objects and took a journey, naturally grasping the attributes of things and materials. She has persistently portrayed everyday objects that draw her attention in man-size proportions. While reproducing a quotidian object in a new scale, the artist seems to find her own path, witnessing the object reborn through her process.
At this point her work reminds me of Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time (À la recherche du temps perdu). Many readers are frightened both by the book’s legnth (almost 4,000 pages) and its intricate development. Although I just skimmed through this novel, it came to my mind when I saw Yoo’s work. This is a story about oblivion, remembrance, and how people can be unbound by the loss of time. In this novel, Proust creates a chain of stimulants for memories, such as the taste of the madeleine and lilac odor. This novel describes a process of one exploring their identity. All incidents are thoroughly filtered by a first-person narrator, and readers follow the stream of consciousness. Yoo’s work seems to be a visualization of Proust’s way of developing the conscious. If one concentrates on Yoo’s pencil drawings on display at the exhibition, one may have a visual experience like falling into a bottomless black hole, as emancipation of primitive memories is made in an instant.
As the memory is in no way a process of consciousness induced intentionally for Proust, Yoo’s working attitude is characterized by waiting for a decisive encounter with an inner gaze through an act of repetitive drawing. She discovers form through a repetition of actions rather than depicting some object with intention, filling a gap between an outer object and herself until the unfamiliar becomes familiar. Everyone feels their senses arouse past memories through association.
As mint chocolate’s bitterness evokes our nostalgia of first love; the smell of steamed rice being cooked recalls glittering stars we looked up at while walking along a ridge between rice fields; the scent of acacia stirs the memories of our college days, arousing some subtle sorrow mixed with the smell of tear gas. An intersection of happiness and sorrow enables us to have artistic inspiration at the moment we fall into the space and time of such memories. The artist fills her canvas, embracing the fragments of her dim memories and senses, standing at a crossroads.
We are often buried in time and deconstructed before realizing our self and subconscious. The way Yoo remembers and documents her experiences has the force to revive memories and arouse the recollection of perception without any apparent plot or dramatic situation. Her constant conversations with things and the ‘present’ emerge before us, transcending space-time, from which an epilog of the gloomy ‘present’ begins.