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Oriental painter says 'Plan B' only makes you stronger

All News 18:34 April 28, 2016

By Woo Jae-yeon

SEOUL, April 28 (Yonhap) -- One might wonder if Korean artist Jung Hai-yun's work falls under the oriental painting genre.

At first glance, her works seem far from a stereotypical oriental painting where, among other things, empty space on a canvas is a virtue.

Since her first exhibition in London in 2008, she's been focused on the tangled web of discord and reconciliation in human relationships. She's been trying to express the complications through drawers, birds, and threads that are crammed onto a canvas, fully covering it.

Painting layer upon layer of oriental watercolors on a thick piece of mulberry paper, a technique that gives her painting a heavy texture, she is credited by art critics in and out of Korea with bringing a sense of contemporary and modern tastes to Korean traditional art.

Her unique, genre-defying art style has earned her much credit and attention from art collectors in international art fairs.

In her sixth solo exhibition "Plan B," which runs from May 4-23 at the Gana Art Center in Seoul, she comforts her contemporary peers with a message that there is no right, definite answer or direction in one's life.

"Like a ladder game, there are countless directions in one's life. Even if one makes an undesirable decision, any bad consequence arising from the decision can be overcome depending on what kind of a measure is taken," she wrote on the writer's note for the exhibition.

The 43-year-old artist came to the conclusion that one needs to always think about Plan B and Plan C because they will "only make you stronger and more mature."

For the first solo exhibit in four years, she's gone a step further from her frequent subjects to draw a motif from a round stone.

"A stone with jagged edges gets rounded over time and the same applies to human relations," Jung told reporters in Seoul on Thursday. "In the end, people get along with each other but it takes time and much struggle."

Each stone, she said, represents an individual life with its own distinctive sense of time. Eventually, each gets to live in harmony with others as their rugged edges become worn out with the passage of time, a condition that leads to a harmonious coexistence as a whole.

While she tried to refrain from speaking her own story through her art, she said, painting the stones helped her heal from her recent personal agony.

"Like a self-fulfilling prophecy, I became more positive while painting these round and hard stones."

jaeyeon.woo@yna.co.kr
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