DE SARTHE is pleased to present Possible World, Seoul-based artist Jung Jin’s first solo exhibition at the gallery and in Hong Kong, featuring a body of interconnected works on canvas and paper. Using abstract references to well-known children’s animations, including Walt Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” and “Snow White,” the artist crafts a collection of annotated imagery that identifies and highlights the feelings of anxiety and confusion that underlie the overstatements of optimism commonly perceived from classic fairytales. Constructing alternative interpretations by juxtaposing figurative depictions with geometric patterns, Jung Jin reveals an unexpected level of empirical realism within fantasy and introduces a world in which the absurdly idealistic ethos of fiction seems possible after all. Possible World opens on November 17th and runs through December 23rd, 2023.
The cynical adage ‘fairytales are for children’ alludes to the general naivety associated with animated fables, owing to their overt overtones of optimism, simplified moral compasses, and of course – guarantee of a happily-ever-after at the conclusion of every story. However, though these fictional works are not driven by the learned rational logic that dictates the majority of daily life, Jung Jin argues that underneath the candy coating of starry-eyed characters and catchy musical numbers are down-to-earth and universal afflictions emblematic of human existence.
Using selected scenes from Walt Disney’s iconic movies, the artist overlays painted collages of abstract, geometric, and disorienting patterns that are suggestive of shock, uncertainty, and displacement. From scenes of Ariel standing for the very first time to Snow White searching her way through the forest, Jung Jin magnifies the moments of trial and tribulation within each story and accentuates the undercurrents of vulnerability that are finely woven into the structures of fantasy. The artist also utilizes a technique through which she creates layered cut-outs within her compositions, uncovering hidden messages within the image. Dissecting encounters of fear and trauma – and consequentially, of confrontation and transformation – the artist elucidates the nuanced dynamics that form the realms of fiction and illumines the points of reality and resonance that enable the perpetuation of illusion.
While many are quick to undermine the idealism portrayed in this genre of fiction, claiming to be in the name of maturity and adulthood, Jung Jin asks us to consider the myth of Sisyphus. Does the absurdity of the situation lie with the unchangeability of fate or the reluctance in accepting its inevitability? As involuntary participants of the human condition, why do we choose to persevere through relentless hardships, fully aware of the suffering that lies ahead? What grounds us in the void that is the unknowability of the future? As the artist and good fiction would suggest, just as the satisfaction of a happy ending is built from the pain along the way, perhaps the burden of living that we unwillingly carry is in the hope of our own happily-ever-after.