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project Statement


New York: A Human Comedy (2023)

Like Federico Fellini's film 8 ½ (1963), or Honore de Balzac's multi-volume interlinked novels, The Human Comedy (1829-48), I try to understand everyone I meet in life.  Like the Beatles lyric, I try to love them all, especially those I meet while in America. I try hard not to lose myself because of everything I experience Entering this semester, I read Rilke’s letters on Cézanne every day before going to bed. But the artist's writing I read the most is Mark Rothko's The Artist’s Reality: Philosophies of Art (2006) This book is full of abstract, incomprehensible, and metaphysical texts. The 'inner conviction' that Rilke spoke of when describing Cézanne and the 'artist's 'reality'' that Rothko mentioned are the same.  Artists are pursued by their own 'task or mission'.  It is ultimately linked to the artist's goal and expression method and contributes to the creation of the artist's individual visual language.

For my thesis project, New York: A Human Comedy, use acrylics, pencils, and house paint on four to five  panels

Each panel creates one portrait that is attached to the adjacent portrait or spaced apart depending on how I install it. At the same time, the figures standing in one line are reminiscent of a prisoner being dragged somewhere.

As I work, I experience the forms of painting and sculpture together, changing the order of woods or the position of the woods up and down according to the pictorial space, or putting them back in place.  It's a completely different form of working than painting only on a single canvas. The subject of each painted panel is both a self-portrait and a psychological anecdote of the people I have experienced in New York. The faces are portrayed in a variety of ways.  The figures all look straight ahead at the viewer who is me.  Most of them look at the viewer with a frightened, uncomfortable expression of extreme unpleasure. It's so intense that I don't even know what to think.  They look so beautiful in my eyes, but they also look ruthless, and at the same time, they look like people who devour the flesh of others like monsters.  I felt like after I moved to the United States I felt like I became a child. To a human being in a childlike state, everything is so vivid and scary that it is impossible to distinguish what is what.

In the last scene of Fellini’s 8 and a half, all the characters in the movie hold hands and spin round and round. This scene does not simply mean the unity of the characters. The anecdotes of every individual cannot be understood. It cannot be shared, it is private, and sometimes contains noticeable violence and tragedy. However, if individuals stories live together as a group, individual tragedy and pain cannot be revealed. It is forbidden and strictly controlled as in the image of them holding hands and spinning round and round, reflecting the inability to understand each other's circumstances. The scene is simply repeated over and over again like a comedy. “The Human Comedy” of New York I want to convey is about my exhaustion as a stranger. Numerous characters confined in a narrow screen are spewing out something as if they are unfair. They seem angry, tired of dissatisfaction, and wanting to salvation them from this narrow chasm. I use coercion as an example because it is one of the tragedies of life that not only artists but also human beings have no choice but to go through in life.


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