Recording Time-Space and the Play of Universe

Written by Jintaeg Jang (Independent Curator) & Translated by Seojin Yim

August 2021

Order and chaos, dissensus and unity, significance and insignificance, existence and absence of context, reality and surreality, etc.—such contrasting values that defy easy comprehension are (ir)regularly intertwined within a single plane. In this case, the usual practice of linear development in characters and events, and of narrative mechanism projecting a certain intention onto them do not necessarily seem valid. As a result, in an entropic sense, a substructure such as an image, its implied storytelling, as well as its purpose may differ its reason of existence in a completely different characteristic. The effect of this chemical change is distinct from a physical variation, because the most defining feature in case of chemical transformations is that there is no stopping or undoing the result. Ultimately, this transformation results in a combination of numerous image-narratives tracking something that is deep-set underneath and dramatically generating the effects of literary re-contextualization at the same time. After such chemical processes, the effect of the self-generated re-contextualization is injected into the backbone and the tips of the main body in an ever more complex way. The new ‘Combination’ which has resulted from this could be seen as the ‘Polymeric Combination,’ because it went through a process of formulaic polymerization, in other words, it could be seen as a synthesized form with repeated ways of connection between certain types of constant ‘Monomers.’ Through a mixed, arranged, floating, smooth, flat and curved finish, there could be a landscape that is singular but also plural. This certainly evokes a special feeling even in comparison with history of painting, a realm that is one of art history, and several contemporary figures. Also presumably, the current situation transitioning from analog to digital would be agreeable to the realization of this particular aesthetic.

Works of Chae Eun Rhee are at a point standing on a construction of the aforementioned linear axes of references that traverse in two and three dimensions. Works of the artist encompass a composing method of a screen following cross function that makes it difficult to grasp the compatibility between each images, independent and comprehensive conditions of varying references of original images that are given a function in the artist’s picture plane, and lastly, the uninhibited choices that are performed consecutively by each subjects surrounding the work. From a primary iconography and its emblematic tale chosen with certain intention of the artist among numerous information we are exposed to, the objective of choices during the creative process of this collected tale once again developed into a single image-narrative, and leading up to the unpredictable choices by the audience, another subject of the work, based on his or her free will or interpretation after viewing the work, Rhee’s painting segmentalize, connect, cut, and transplant the mechanism itself, a reveal of projected perspectives around an event, that is objective and subjective at the same time. Each individual tone is soon ruptured for the whole while the image is put to settle, and the form of this bursting tone corresponds to the contemporary creative methods that are analogous to the so-called editorial activities—outstretching appropriation, adaptation, dramatization, etc.—by popular demand of those who reside in the digital environment. Flat and pure process of image extraction that emancipates the image from the existing narrative, precedes the formal construction of re-contextualization performed by the artist. The collage of these pictorial icon cut-outs in a so-called customized shape also reminds us of historical documentary paintings that contain numerous symbols in coexistence. However, while documentary paintings function as transformed images rooted in reality, the fact that Rhee’s image attracts the audience into an autonomous and far-reaching universe makes it distinguishable from the domain of regular documentary painting, which has a strong character of instruction and moral.

Ultimately, visible entropy or the extent of disorder in physics is set to increase in Rhee’s universe. Each iconography is in conjunction with this setting that is paradoxically creating a representation of the new state of equilibrium today. Though the contemporary stability that maintains this equilibrium may be realized in a microscopic sense, the viewer must understand that it is in sync with the dimension of a macroscopic sense. Strictly speaking, the artist’s paintings operate the microscopic representation as a sub-organ of the main body, which is a representation for macroscopic de-representation, through a methodology that combine and recompose the chosen figure, event, and the narrative itself. As you follow the tech tree of impression designed by the artist, such (image) arrangements would be the reason you rewind into the beginning moment at the very end as in the law of reduction to absurdity. Also, if there must be a visual composition of a fixed form of images at some point due to the nature of the painting medium, then the rewinding from the end into the beginning signifies a moment of dissolution as a sort of preliminary stage for recombining the images in Rhee’s work. As previously described, what should be remembered is that the dissolution is executed neither as the micro-scope for the sake of it nor for the micro-narrative of individual images. As a referent that instructs a composition of a single screen, each of the target images races straight to the point towards the completion of the macro-narrative. At this very moment, a relation structure between images that are partial and total in a regular order or a relation of images in a form of one supporting the other allows an impression that is perceived differently as a consecutive and also singular image according to the percentage of scale. In between the communication of the artist and the audience, this perception formulates a peculiar threshold that is concurrency conflict.

Simultaneously appropriating the contrasting notions, such as analog and digital, citation and de-representation, disorder and equilibrium, Rhee’s work has grown to withhold a particular sense of the era. This is a result drawn when immobility and boundedness, some of the major characteristics of the painting medium, and the space-time quality react altogether. The direction of the artist is interesting in how the experience of the audience in the aspect of valid appreciation once again makes contact with the creation of a single aesthetic universe that contains self-persistence. In the middle of this, the audience could decide how to perceive the present with the choice of unfettered senses guaranteed by the artist. Hereby, regardless of the artist’s intention, Rhee’s work exerts a significant influence to the system that is the perception of an era of the people who face the work and the universe offered by the artist.

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