Ultimately, most of what I draw are emotions, thoughts and attitudes that come from conflicts between society and the individual. Sometimes my drawings are about being anxious or critical. Sometimes they are about seeking hope. This is the way people live their lives, and it’s also the way I draw.
- Jeongsu Woo
In the artist’s recent paintings, the same imagery is repeated over and over, recombined in different colours and arrangements, overlaid with geometric patterns, and patchworked together on multiple canvases. Asked about his interest in textiles and prints, Woo notes the ability for repetition to convert complex ideas into simple ones. All the elements that form the images of printmaking, he explains, their clear stories, flat surface and texture, help to deliver narratives.
The language of printmaking and illustration, whether drawn from the artist’s imagination or borrowed from books and pamphlets and recreated on the canvas, provides a deceptive clarity for Woo. The deceptive element, the artist suggests, emerges in the form of context. Viewers from different countries and backgrounds, presented with material interpreted by a third party, will read the image—or book—differently. By repeatedly recontextualizing illustrations, Woo alludes to this reality in both art and literature, and asks his own audience to participate in it. At the same time, by borrowing illustrations from other sources, he becomes the translator of those images. While he may never reach one clear meaning, the repetition and recombination does allow Woo, as translator and author of images, to more closely approach the 'truth' of the image by providing ways to read it from a variety of angles.
- Isabella Kapur
Woo was born 1986, Seoul, South Korea. His work is currently on view at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Gwacheon, South Korea. Works have previously been included in exhibitions at the Seoul Museum of Art and Kumho Asiana Museum of Art, Seoul.