“I read that the soul can flee when the flesh dies… One day, we will pick up this uncertain conversation again Delia, On the bank of what river? And we will ask ourselves whether we were once in a city that vanished into the plains.”
<Delia Elena San Marco> Jorge Luis Borges
Their Conversation is a video installation exploring the discrepancy between eternity and transiency, inspired by Borges’s writing in Delia Elena San Marco. This project came to my mind while looking at a solid mountain. I was fascinated how it was dualistic; the mountain seemed static, yet concurrently dynamic and energetic. This installation consists of images of digital paintings that are slowly moving in such a subtle way, viewers must stop and look closer to see if they are still, or moving. This creates a patience among viewers that allows them to appreciate the images, and goes even so far as to change their pace of breath.
Their Conversation 1 freezes the notion of the speed of time. It becomes true that impermanence is the other side of permanence, and although the body dies, the soul can flee from it to exist forever. In this work each art piece simultaneously shows all the aspects of one image in different places. I call these images ‘moving paintings.’ These moving paintings display amorphous shapes, which conjure images of anemones and amoebas. Lit up screens allow the images to glow in front of colorful backgrounds. To show the entire duration, multi-channel screens will display the same video content in 3-5 pieces, playing during different times.
Their Conversation 1 offers an existential experience to audience members. The slow-moving images represent the constant changes that are unnoticeably occurring in our lifespans. By displaying a long video clip, and setting up the work with multi-channel displays, there will be a beautiful bridge to connect the concepts between the individual and the collective.
About the artist
Born in 1985 in Seoul, Sung-Jae Lee first began his career in comics and graphic novels at Kongju
National University in South Korea. After graduating with a Bachelors Degree, he produced art work he called “Moving Paintings”, inspired by Deleuze’s philosophy, while attending the MFA program in Experimental Animation at California Institute of the Arts.
Mostly referring to concepts of “Monism-Dualism,” “Changeability,” and “Time,” Sung-Jae Lee has experimented with diverse techniques in his work: digital monitor displays, projection mapping on paintings, and interactive installations. He has had 3 solo exhibitions at Calarts and 10Group exhibitions in Korea and the US. In developing new techniques through experimental moving paintings, Sung Jae Lee has used technology in a way that challenges the possibilities of how painting will evolve in the contemporary art world.
Sung-Jae Lee’s Website: http://www.sungjaelee.com/