brilliant 30: Haejung Jung

Artist journeying into the rules and systems of contemporary society

<Single-handed Farming Ship> A Wooden Ship_360x200cm_Cooperative Work_2014
Artist Haejung Jung - video
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Artist Haejung Jung - video

Haejung Jung, prying into societal restrictions and rules

<Windshift Home, The Others> Home, Wood, Led Lamp_90x90x180cm_2012
<Single-handed Farming Ship> A Wooden Ship_360x200cm_Cooperative Work_2014

It is perhaps safe to say that we are indifferent to our surroundings and mundane events happening around us. There is nothing unusual about this; when something becomes commonplace, its existence gets devalued. Such is the norm in contemporary society.
In a capitalistic system, everything can be measured for its exchange value. No matter how much the importance of nature - the sky, air, rivers and oceans - is emphasized, what cannot be monetized is meaningless. Again, this is not a mere criticism. This barely expresses the capitalistic spirit in our time, with which our judgmentsof value have naturally become aligned. The 20th Century German philosopher Martin Heidegger made a distinction between “being” (the state of) and “beings” (those who are). According to Heidegger, the perception of things as obtained from our senses in fact denotes beings, not being. The visible and tangible objects we perceive are beings. On the other hand, the state of being is like the soul – an invisible entity that mirrors the existence of beings. It cannot be judged with a conventional value scale, as it is neither visible nor tangible – an essence.

For an alternative point of view, one might turn to the author Anais Nin, who said “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are” – thus emphasizing the being of the person seeing and how this affects our perception.
What would happen if a world existed with a completely different set of codes and social norms? The artist Haejung Jung explores the properties of matter. Through her work, Jung records space and time and; in doing so, she attempts to resurrect the neglected values through the prevailing capitalistic mindset. This does not constitute a dream of returning to pre-capitalism; rather, it marks an attempt to mollify rigid norms in society and restore a kind of sensibility that has been lost amid a desolate contemporary rationality.

Episteme: intellectually certain knowledge


<Palm Map #1> Publication_Print on Tracing Paper_15x21cm_2012

Q. Could you briefly explain your work?

When I was living in Itaewon for a short time, I used to do performance art by pushing around a small makeshift wooden structure resembling a house. It had ‘Itaewon’ written on its façade in Sino-Korean.
During these performances, I met various group of people. I traced their palms onto tracing paper and collected them into an artist’s book which I called ‘Palm Map #1’. For ‘Palm Map #3’, I transferred every one’s palm lines I met on paper using colored pencils. Additional content was added, such as stories I shared with them. For others, I turned the palm lines into pathways by drawing mountains and rivers around them.
‘Palm Map’ is not a completed piece; it is better understood as an ongoing project. Areas of interest I have for this particular project are: the relationships between the city and the people, the city and an individual, and the past and the present. Although I was mesmerized by the simple beauty of the palm lines, I do believe that a person's palm is where their memories are stored - a vessel that carries them. With the hand as a medium, I want to map out my thoughts on the city, people into the places I visit.

Artist Haejung Jung Still Image

‘Wavewave’ brings together all my works from the Han River. Our perceptionon Han River is quite limited or partial to some degree. I wanted to pry into or even break these restrictions and rules, like a hacker would do to a website.
My fellow artists and I built a small boat and named it ‘The Horakjil’. In this little ferry, we installed equipment including a periscope, a telescope, a rotating mirror, a rotating chair and an apparatus that would allow us to draw on a transparent background. We documented our journey across, down and around the Han River. Jeoja Island is an island that no longer exists on the map; it is now a small delta island near Apgujeong-dong, Seoul, Korea. I took a radio transmitter and made a live broadcast from there. A single channel video was made to show the recordings of my journey. It is called the ‘Wavewave Imagination Museum’. It has been shown publicly at a gallery.

I hope people will redeem their right to see as free beings. This would mean that every person could explore the world from their own point of view. - Haejung Jung -

Artist Haejung Jung Still Image

Q. What is the central motif in your work?

When a concept or form is conceived, I do not let that moment of inspiration spawn to work. I wait until the ideas have matured and become ripen. Most of my work is done through travel. I only start working when the keywords and their interconnections get sorted out; as they say, the more you know, the more you see. I have an empty studio but I don't gothere very often. My actual working place is library where I go and pile up books to scrutinize and do some research. After that, I set off on my journey, where I perceive many different things and meet diverse group of people. Then I document those experiences.

Artist Haejung Jung Still Image

Q. Is there any particular message you intend to convey in your work?

We believe we see the world through our own eyes, but the reality is different. We have become accustomed or conditioned - to view things from a restricted perspective. I hope people will redeem their rights to see as free beings. This would mean that every person could explore the world from their own points of views.

  • Artist Haejung Jung Still Image

    Q. What inspires you to create art?

    I was a young girl when I first began doing art, as one might say; but the reason I decided to create works with my own message comes from an entirely different origin. My hobby is scuba diving and during my college years, I spent more time on scuba diving than working on my projects. I am a certified scuba instructor. Maybe it was about being under water that I was inspired to start my artistic career in earnest.
    Feeling being submerged under water is very different from standing above the world. The sights are stunning, and the underwater creatures inspired me to come up with the concept of space and time and create an animation which was my first art work.

  • Artist Haejung Jung Still Image

    Q. What other works do you envision yourself creating in the future?

    This year has been emotionally devastating with never-ending heartbreaking news of accidents and disasters across the country. Personally, the death of one of my favorite singers, Shin Hae Chul, broke my heart. It led me to think about death and how ephemeral our lives can be – we never know when, where or how we might leave this world. For me, creatingworks is a means to convey the ideas I take from particular moments and unexpected situations. I am not planning any specific upcoming project, but I do wish to travel more.

  • <Single-handed Farming Ship>

    A Wooden Ship_360x200cm_Cooperative Work_2014

    <Single-handed Farming Ship>
  • <Single-handed Farming Ship>

    A Wooden Ship_360x200cm_Cooperative Work_2014

    <Single-handed Farming Ship>
  • <Windshift Home, The Others>

    Home, Wood, Led Lamp_90x90x180cm_2012

    <Windshift Home, The Others>
  • <Palm Map #1>

    Publication_Print on Tracing Paper_15x21cm_2012

    <Palm Map #1>
  • <Palm Map #2>

    Publication_47x63cm_Book Cover_2012

    <Palm Map #2>
  • <Palm Map #3-1>

    Color Penil on Paper_20x20cm_2013

    <Palm Map #3-1>
  • <Palm Map #3-2>

    Color Penil on Paper_20x20cm_2013

    <Palm Map #3-2>
  • <Palm Map #3-3>

    Color Penil on Paper_20x20cm_2013

    <Palm Map #3-3>


Artist Haejung Jung

Haejung Jung majored in painting at Hongik University and attained a diploma in Arts and Design at Geneva Univeristy of Arts & Design and at Korea National University of Arts. Her work has been on exhibit in over 8 solo and 19 group shows, and various cultural projects. Throughout her career as an artist from 2009 until 2012, she was awarded Ilhyun Travel Grant, Arkomedia Fund, SEMA Young Artist Fund, and Seoul Foundation for Arts and Culture Visual Arts Fund. She was also selected as an artist for Hyundai Group’s Art Project. In 2014, Haejung Jung was featured as the cover artist for art magazine, Public Art.

Haejung Jung works in diverse media including video, photography, books, drawing, sculpture and installation. Pinpointing just one medium for the sake of introduction is not possible. Nonetheless, if one were to be chosen, it would be travel.
The word ‘travel’ is not used here in the sense of touring and holidaying. It is means for research and an act of hacking and trespassing into an anarchic realm. The artist takes a different approach in her perception of ordinary places such as the Han River and national highway which we may pass on a daily basis. She records the remaining traces of those places and reconstructs them in order to discover the relationships between the city and people, the city and the individual, past and the present.
Her projects continue as an ongoing process, and are presented as a series. A project may be concluded, but never completed. It is endlessly modified according to place and time and the people who see it. Jung’s interactions with visitors are also reflected in later versions of her work. In that sense, her art works are like fellow travelers.

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<Bridge of Paradise> Engraving on Antique Hardwood Flooring_243 x 274 x 8cm_2010

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