St Lucas School of Arts Antwerp
Yeji Seok works with various media: drawing, painting, objects, sculpture and video. It is striking that small white faceless figures appear in all her works. They have no eyes, no mouth, no arms, no legs. The head goes directly into the body. The figures are the artistic transmission of the feeling that Yeji had when she came to Europe.
“I wanted to show the degenerated creature through it. They just eat, jump and move. – That’s all. On the other hand, I suddenly thought that it was very similar with me. Because I felt disconnected from communication when I was first staying abroad. I’ve felt the very different culture, habits. Also DUTCH.”
The figures run through Yeji’s work, no matter what medium she uses. The small creatures evolve in each work and show different aspects.
In one painting, a figure climbs up a mountain. In the next one it fell from an artificial climbing hill into a lake. Yeji draws comparisons to the artist’s existence.
The vulnerability of the figures makes them comprehensible on different levels: The creatures receive speech bubbles like in a comic strip, with letters cut from a newspaper they call out “Don’t take me”. The sensitivity of the figures touches the viewer, but at the same time raises questions. How vulnerable are these beings? How much of them is present in the viewer? With the work shown in the Weltkunstzimmer Duesseldorf and in the Sint Laurentius Church in Antwerp, Yeji Seok goes one step further, almost crossing a line. In her work Suicide the figures float in front of a white wall, thin threads attach them to hot-air balloons. At a first glance the work has an airy feeling, the figures almost seem to fly away. Nevertheless, the artist points out in an interview: Repeated humiliation and injury is followed by inevitable death, represented by the destroyed beings on the ground. Even though they are anonymous figures without languages, they refer to the vulnerability in each of us.
© Bärbel Möllmann