LEE Jinju: An Obscure Reply
There are times when we run into unexpected fragments of imageries that resurface from the in-betweens of our memory and oblivion of happiness, exquisiteness, or violence that leaves us with trauma. Jinju Lee, with her unique sensitivity, obsessively searches random pieces of imageries that recur from her entangled memories. And while retranslating through painting, these stories transform into extremely absurd yet beautiful scenery. An Obscure Reply, Jinju Lee’s first solo exhibition in 6 years in Korea, is the product of the artist’s painstaking contemplation on memory and forgetting.
As Lee adds on ‘allegory’ as a device in these memories and forgetting, Lee’s works accumulate more uniqueness. Unidentifiable female figures drift around in a tilted cube shaped canvas painted with scrupulous details of, both relevant and irrelevant, objects in disarray. It seems as if, to the artist, these objects carry allegorical meanings that obscure or displace their original meanings and implications. Craig Owens, on discussing ‘allegory,’ defined it as an image becoming something other, where allegory is “quite capable of transforming the most objective materialism into the mots subjective expressionism.” Even if these cryptic elements are consciously planned or not, Lee’s works portraying the boundaries of memory and oblivion set in a dream-like, almost surreal background, welcome various possibilities of the work. Like an unfinished sentence, or ‘an obscure reply,’ Lee taps into the viewer’s sub-consciousness creating more depth to her works.