“The sovereignty of the Republic of Korea shall reside in the people, and all state authority shall emanate from the people”—The Constitution of the Republic of Korea Article 1 Section 2
Through representation and the reenactment of narratives from the media, I create paintings, drawings, performances, and videos that reveal the hidden violence and bureaucracy that disregard the Constitution and limit the democratic freedoms in my home country, South Korea. My artworks make commentaries on sensitive topics such as financial corruption in politics and politically manipulated religion. The government's control of the media constrains the public’s freedom of political thought and expression. The censored portrayal of politicians or “troublemakers” compels me to reveal their corruption and violence hidden by the media.
I insert, multiply, and collage my self-portrait with news imagery to depict scenes of socio-political events and encounter the history. Black and white palette in my artworks suggests both the passage of time and a general aesthetic of photographic image from newspaper. The gaze of my self-portraits hints my confrontation and resentment towards the government and bureaucrats that do not protect but physically and mentally attack the public and violate the human rights. The reenactment in my paintings and performances allows me to embody the “issue-makers” and actively experience history. My video piece Yellow in a Box (2015) highlights the actions of protesters and the repressive police; I reenact the gestures of both the perpetrators and the victims of the demonstrations. I stand still in rectangular formats that reference images from the newspaper and use repetition to evoke the intensity of the content.
As an activist-artist, I continue to reveal the socio-political events and alert the public to acknowledge the human rights violation in the Korean society. I further enable viewers to protect their own social equality and co-existence in accordance to Article 1 Section 2 of the Constitution.
*Please reference on my artworks in AUO application and my website www.jaehwanlim.com for more information.