When I first saw Albrecht Dürer’s the great German Renaissance artist, early work “Apocalypse with Pictures, 1498” at a special exhibition held at Hessisches Landesmuseum in Darmstadt, Germany. I could feel the passion of young Dürer like piercing my heart as if I touched the burning fire first time in my life and immediately recalled my childhood viewing the world only from the perspective of encyclopedia, black and white and fragmented information like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. Moreover, I realized I am still greatly in awe of Renaissance humanism.

My imaginary footnotes were indexed and scribbled under his woodcuts, reminded me of neo-medievalism from Umberto Eco influenced by the radical globalization over the past decades. It seems to me we have lost sight of our destination by imprudently pursuing a large amount of information whilst ignoring the essence of it. And terms like “humanism” and “truth” have become antiquated words that are more akin to the fossils in a museum and “absolute rationality” has also lost its value like a barren surface of the Moon absent of the excitement of exploration.

The research of the masterpieces of “Durer” seemed worthwhile to me because it caused me, as female Asian artist who lives in the era of frustration and the fragmented society and becomes the others involuntarily in history by the Western with a dualistic view of “us” – those in the inner circle – versus “others” – those outside of one’s inner circle –, an incredible generational, cultural, geographical and societal gap. Furthermore, I felt there is enough reasons for me to share this study with people in my homeland where appears to be in the desperate need of romanticism when Postmodernism has become old-fashioned. An unexpected return to Korea during the research in Germany has somewhat changed the meaning of the study, however it was eventually my Travel in Germany or plotting myself on the coordinates both as an artist and individual.

I have captured my three years in Germany from strips of local German magazines and my preceding seven years in the US with cartoon images, symbolizing the light yet passionate New World, as last layer of my works in the form of Collage. The conclusion of the work as an homage to Durer is that an artist should create the story in a visual and formative representation and, I believe, it is the job of an artist to create a visual form that uniquely embodies their own story.

Based on Durer’s original images, the blockbuster of his time, recreated with composition of the Biblical stories, Apocalypse of St. John, in the form of the expressive figurative art of Italy and German landscape, I want to add my own structural layers and sprinkle the various layers of contemporary society including myself.

The fundamental elements of any form or sculpture can be substituted by a corresponding informational element. The modern being is bombarded by a continuous stream of information and data, and this deluge is causing us to just accept everything at its face value instead of finding the time to critically analyze and map it. I always had difficulty processing information serially, instead took information better in parallel. When I was younger, this felt like an illness unique to me, but nowadays it feels like a symptom of modern society.

Hence, my new series can be a considered my own way of composing, editing, arranging and mapping my experiences into a structural form. In this form, much like an encyclopedia which collects various topics, I have tried to connect my diverse experiences in the multiple layers of my work. Even in the chaos of a flood of information, some true some not, we do not wish to give up our dreams. We continue to dream of a world of truth and an ideal society though we know we may never reach the ultimate destination, no more than an eternal approach. However, we strive to understand and converge to Idea. My art including this new series, it may continue to change to any other form, is the holistic and everlasting approach towards ideals.

Lee KyoungMi