By Choi Kwang-jin (art critic)

The first impression from Jeong Ji-Hyun’s works is “abnormal reality”. The sense of reality comes from the realistic depiction, while the feeling of abnormality is caused by the inharmonic relationship between the objects and the background scenes. The background of her paintings frequently takes a role of emphasis the object image, which is located in the static and dreary space such as dark sky, hazy clouds, or a vast expanse of desert. The vivid objects break on those background scenes unexpectedly, and that brings up the dramatic contrast and tension. Those relations are the genuine characteristics of her paintings, which give us an important clue to analyze them.

It seems to be similar to the Depaysement method of the surrealist as Rene Magritte. We can suppose that she also try to reach the unconsciousness and destroy the conventional system as the surrealists by juxtaposing the objects which seem to have no relationship each other. However, she doesn’t seem to pay much attention to those purposes. Juxtaposing the unmatched objects are repeatedly shown in her works such as the metal plate and egg, cotton and egg, tree and fish, egg and fish, and mirror and egg. But this attachment to the certain objects cannot imply the blind way to reach the unconsciousness. She may try to add the symbolic meaning to the objects with the unconscious effect.

To focus on the most frequently appeared objects in her paintings, you can easily select the egg and fish, and also deduce the notable feature from those objects. The shape of egg is ellipsoidal, so it can be easily broken with a slight slope, and the restoration of it is impossible. The outer shell containing the liquid stuff seems solid but fragile, which proves it is very unstable existence easily destroyed even with a mild shock. Furthermore, the egg is put on a slant mirror or the edge of the plate in her paintings, which increases the feeling of uneasiness and fear. In case of fish, it is presented put in a bottle full of cotton, or flying in the sky. These objects imply that they are the unstable existences thrown into the strange place, isolated from their familiar home-ground. Separated from background, they give an impression that they are going to lose their existences, and disappear soon. As a result, those images arouse a faint sorrow with a sense of futility as well as a sense of alienation

From such an explanation, we can assume that those objects represent her self-portrait. She looks optimistic and bright, but also seems to have anxiety and mental conflicts which are usually inherent in a delicate and complicated woman. That is the repressive conflict structure which is not frequently expressed. Then, do the features of egg and fish reflect herself who has a conflict between adaptation and resistance, thrown in systematized society?

She called the title of her works as ''Fatal Rest:  rest in strange place”, which support that assumption. ‘Strange place’ means that value, morals, rules and justice of our society are quite different from those of the original "I". Additionally, 'Rest' means that the subject as the current existence has relieved feelings by following the criteria or rules of others, although he or she feels estrangement from them. But, in fact, that feeling of relief is not only the loss of the original "I" but also weak resignation.

That situation is the psychological existence of a woman artist in modern society and also the portraits of our contemporaries. In fact, it is difficult that we can go against the mass stream of modern information society. We lose our subject and individuality by adapting ourselves to spectacle and meaningless images. She also assimilates into that stream, however, she tries to observe unstable herself.

As previously mentioned, she deduces the subject from her paintings by revealing the subtle psychological conflicts between as a woman with delicate sensitivity and social "the other". Her paintings give a question about the existence thrown into the society in the irresistible critical situation, and also reveal the conflict structure of contemporaries.