By Lee Sun-young (art critic)

Jeong Ji-hyun’s art belongs to modernism because objects cautiously selected to reveal her esthetic sense are sifted through a refined and restraint visual language. With her delicate strokes, a lifeless sofa and an unnoticeable cactus are transformed into creatures with soft skin or hairs. Thick fleshy stems of the cactus are in stark contrast to prickles in color, texture and form, imbuing her painting with visual vitality. “Seeing—an activity that is ultimately derived from touching” As Sigmund Freud once put it, the flat objects transcend the limits of visual dimension into the tactile realm. Her favorite objects like a cactus with bloody prickles, voluptuous sofa, and flowers gathering red mold are an apparatus to manifest animistic vigor. When her sophisticated sense lends a visual density to these relativistic and incidental things, they come to life again as essential and absolute beings. Meanwhile, the agent of change hides itself behind realistically depicted objects.

Ordinary things are uplifted in a pure form and acquire their own clarity that is isolated from concrete circumstances. They are likened to sample ores in a visual laboratory. Nobody knows where they come from. That is to say, the audience cannot easily imagine why she picked up such materials as plants or furniture, or who they used to belong to. That is because her point of view is far from the conventional human-oriented viewpoint that reflects the mutual relations between humans and their belongings. Objects were elaborately illustrated but had no substantiality that can serve as a source of developing humane stories. They are decolorized and left nothing but rhythmically visual accents. While objects break away from their ordinary images through the pure journey of painting, they eventually find themselves caught in another net, say, the prison of language. The language entrapment corresponds to the “self-referential” modernistic world. In this sense, the reconstruction of the world in prison is a fitting description of the “self-referential autonomy” of art, which is both blessing and curse.