End of Summer(Jihyung Park)

Our senses become more transparent and vivid under the scorching hot summer night. Countless creatures live in harmony between the shining stars in the sky and the refreshing scent of the grassy forest. Beneath this scenery, Seounghee Lee discovers the tangible exchange of power between humans and non-humans and shifts it into a wondrous realm of darkness and cosmic vistas. In her solo exhibition 𝐸𝑛𝑑 𝑜𝑓 𝑆𝑢𝑚𝑚𝑒𝑟, the artist seeks to depict surreal moments by drawing upon mythical and folkloric elements associated with animals that have been passed down through various cultures. Looking back, we have predicted imminent calamity by observing the constellation of Canis Major, with its star Sirius rising in the mid-summer. We also consider them as beings that empathize with humans spiritually, guiding us through the beginning and end of life. Can the images of dogs being born again through Lee’s hands become prophets hinting at the future direction of humanity and companions safeguarding our lives?

          The artist claims to exchange a signal with non-human entities in their daily coexistence. She recalls stories of the night sky with sparsely studded stars among the scattered dog food or receives messages of love and trust from the swift movements of a dog’s tail. These personal experiences evolve into unprecedented forms by merging with the artist’s sculptural agility and cultural references. In these processes, the materials such as tarot cards that foretell the future, a wish-granting stone mortar, constellation myths, and Greek mythology are all employed, playing a role in transcending real-life events into a supernatural dimension. Within the narrative framework created by Lee, humans, gods, and animals recognize and encounter their respective essences through surreal means.

          In the three pieces of painting located on the gallery’s lower floor, a fusion of mythological narratives unfolds. It contains the story of Actaeon, who became a deer-human and was killed by his hunting dog by peeking at the goddess, Artemis, who shot and killed her beloved Orion with an arrow, and a dog riding a unicorn in between them. The canvas, covered with thick medium and bold colors, deconstructs the anticipated probability of mythical narratives we already knew. The paintings insteadly serve the vitality and enigma of moments that transcend binary thinking, foster new relationships between humans and non-humans, and when various entities with different weights share friendship and love on an equal field. Unlike the blue texture of Lee’s painting, the sculptures with smooth surfaces are based on three-dimensional modelling are completed by combining different parts of diverse animals and natural images in a digital environment before printing in specific sizes and colors. Each object with a unique shape, such as , becomes a totemic symbol placed in the space, presenting as vessels that hold the artist’s unshaped dreams and desires. The audiences could bring forth their wishes or receive the energies from these playful monuments.
          The artist bravely and persistently explores the possibility of coexistence between beings that are not easily captured on the surface of reality or linguistically defined. Reading someone else’s mind, living alongside them, and facilitating methods of extended communication with them become questions that penetrate her entire life. The images embodied by the combination of flexible forms and imagination dissolve rigid criteria of our judgments and ask for a more open-minded dialogue. In the proposed journey, Lee carefully hopes for a connection between diverse entities, transcending fixed beliefs and biased standards, forming an alternative solidarity.