The Words Left Behind - Writing, Folding, Sealing, Taking Out
200 x 70 x 70 cm each
18'30", 1'16", 8'52", 2'20"
Ink on silk
Three ink paintings on silk, plaster, artist's will
In YANG Sue Yon’s exhibition, “Not To Be Outstripped,” Sue Yon focuses on humanity, especially about how human beings respond to their inevitable fate, finitude.
The fear that our lives will come to an end made human beings create taboo and superstitions related to death, develop myth and beliefs about deified animals or objects which represents eternity. Sue Yon would like to challenge this idea by breaking the superstitions and mythical beliefs to reveal the futileness of human’s desire.
The show will be divided into two parts; the first part will be a series of paintings, using the ten longevity symbols of Korean traditional culture. The ten longevity symbols, which are selected among 13 objects – the sun, moon, cloud, rock, mountain, pine tree, bamboo, water, peach, deer, crane, turtle, ling zhi – will be replaced with valueless, deadly objects to reveal the futility of human’s desire for immortality. The paintings will be drawn on silk, using traditional ‘Gong bi hua’ methods with the modern twist to explore the possibility of Korean traditional painting.
The second part will challenge the concept of taboo and superstitions on ‘avoiding the death.’ This project – ‘The Words Left Behind’ – would like to confront the fear of death by writing the ‘will.’ ‘Will’ is a document which people write when they prepare their coming death. For this project, the purpose of the will was more focused on ‘the message that testator would like to leave’ rather than whether or not the testament has legal effect. Only a few elements were adapted from the official testament format, which are ‘the date and testator’s signature’ to assure that the will is authentic. Also, the will has to be sealed and never can be opened until the testator’s death, and placed in a safe place. Using such characteristics, the artist would like to show that the prohibitions and superstitions related to death are based on the fear of the finitude of ourselves and also this fear is built upon the uncertainty of our lives. By facing this anxiety, the artist would like to deliver the message that the fear could be only overcome when we confront death.
‘The Words Left Behind’ contains video works – recording the process of the artist herself writing and sealing the will- and paintings – which is a guide for the executor, and installation. In the exhibition venue, the artist will provide a small room for the audience who would like to participate in the project and have a chance to write their own testament.
YANG Sue Yon (b.1988, Seoul, Korea), obtained both Bachelor of Fine Arts and Master of Fine Arts from Seoul National University (SNU), Korea in 2011 and 2014 respectively. In SNU, Sue Yon studied Korean traditional painting. While she developed her career as an artist, she also worked as a researcher and produced replicas of cultural heritages for national museums in Korea. From this background, she would like to explore new possibilities of the traditional painting by combining and experimenting traditional materials and contemporary expressions.
In her artworks, Sue Yon focuses on humanity, particularly about life and death. The exploration on the spectrum of life and fatality stem from her personal experience, and eventually evolves into the questioning of why people fear death even it is inevitable. These questionings translate into the theme of futile desire on eternity, and expose the intrinsic fear in humanity.
Sue Yon held two solo exhibitions and participated in various exhibitions such as ‘Ink Asia’, ‘Fine Art Asia’, ‘Asia Contemporary Art Show’, her works were showcased in Korea, Hong Kong, Japan, Germany. Her works are housed in ‘Seong-nam Art Bank’, ‘Incheon District Court’, ‘Seoul National University Hospital’ in Korea and prized by private collectors.