Close and yet Far.

by Chae Eun Rhee & Jannice Chung

June 2020

In the time of physical distancing these days, Chae Eun Rhee and Jannice Chung explore the situation where stories of my acquaintances or strangers feel close and yet far, and far and yet close simultaneously. The fear of pandemic has lead into discrimination and hatred, and illusion once built solid now has been helplessly collapsed down. Many social issues existed around the world break out to exacerbate confusion yet the obstacle that we the citizens face together has brought us closer than ever. No one can predict coming future; however, we now know the new era has arrived with new norms to view the world. The show starts with a conversation of the two artists about intensified anxiety while staying abroad. At the time of planning the show, they were physically apart in Korea and Netherland, shared thoughts in the midst of continuously changing situation: they sometimes sympathized, contradicted, and supported each other. Although our future may be daunting, we wish the show wins the sympathy and consoles the viewers on some levels.

Chae Eun Rhee reveals non sequential simultaneity of character and object, and of space and time to investigate other contextual relationships within mixed images. Exploring through familiar landscapes of past and present as well as unrealistic and false-like live news, she embraces constantly changing social aspect of the contemporary. In particular, the show, <Close and yet Far> functions as tools to understand problems of this world revolving around life and death. Chae Eun’s real experience of self-quarantine had an impact on re-establish the meaning of ‘disconnect’ so its spatiotemporal/ physical/ psychological distance is re- interpreted through her new experimental installation work. After she experiences the collapse of once familiar relationship in distance and time, she focuses on the phenomenon of their artificial reestablishment. She chooses the closest figure of all, her family’s, past incidents to be restructured on canvas and uses them as a tool to show temporal disconnection. She also presents solitary death of strangers that are reported on media to disclose psychological disconnection which causes lack of sympathy and to evoke human’s dignity.

Jannice Chung deals with various issues that women face within a boundary of home. She makescollages using magazine pages, and also painting, drawing and stitching on Korean traditional silk and fabrics easily found in domestic spaces. Curtain series in the show comes from her temporary residence in the old tatami room in Koganecho, Yokohama, Japan. Still retaining traces of the town’s history as a red light district, the Curtain series is born as reinterpretation of old curtain provided by one resident of the town. Also, her stay in the tatami room causes delusion that actually leads to physical symptoms of itch and inflammation which further creates psychological pressure that takes over her everyday life. From the said experience, Tatami series is started to reconsider the meaning of residential space that has lost its function. In addition, disconnection from outside is now urgent than ever that shutdown of society leaves a room to re-evaluate role of home and family around a place of residence. She considers uncomfortable truth occurred when physically close yet psychologically far apart families are forced to coexist