Jaeyeon Park, <Things we don't yet know>,
Book cover, Potato, 2022

Jaeyeon Park, <Things we don't yet know>,
Book, Book cover, Epoxy, Potato, Plaster, Wax, Rock, Wood, 2022

What is sculpture, and what does our life mean?

I had a hard time when I decided to start my second master's degree at Cranbrook. If the previous work was a way of organizing and conveying a natural flow of thoughts and questions in the form of a story that arose at that time, in the second master’s degree, I wanted to deviate from the previous flow and subject. I tried to cut off something that led to the previous flow. Formally, I wanted to write a poem rather than a novel. Novels are kinder than poetry. It has the structure of a linear story, and it helps us follow a particular narrative with multiple words, sentences, and paragraphs.

Poetry deconstructs and scatters ways of writing. It may be a non-linear thought flow rather than a logical progression. Of course, poetry has an overall theme like a novel, but it is more like an experimental structured story. Poetry is a freer way of thinking. It doesn't need to have a beginning or endpoint. There is an endless infinity in poetry.

The question I had when I started studying sculpture may be very predictable. I was genuinely curious about what sculpture is. Or what art is. Whom are we working on making art? Furthermore, what is life? Although that question sounds somewhat serious, at the same time, it sounds like a "joke" to me too. I like Milan Kundera's novels. He exquisitely mixes the heavy world of ideology, politics, and history with a light world of coincidence and jokes. The serious events in his book are annulled by hilarious and accidental moments. Those skeptical joke moments came to me impressively. It is not a gaze that denies and ignores reality but rather gives a more core, essential view of that seriousness.

And when I was thinking seriously about what sculpture, some stupid images also came to mind. It was a potato, which sounds very mundane, an everyday food, which is not unique. Very serious sound word "art" and such a stupid object, "potato." But potato is everywhere, and we eat that vegetable almost every day. We are made of potatoes rather than an art. When I make artwork, I always focus on profound meaning, something big, questions and discourse, and wandering in those pools of seriousness. I started questioning what sculpture is, but in my deep core, I wanted to escape from those heavy concepts. Running away from the metaphysical world to the natural ground of earth. From notion to something real. A journey from sculpture to potato.

Creating artwork is a journey, in part, about self-reflection. Artists always have a desire or greed to reach some vast metaphysical world. But art or life is more like a comedy than a noble adventure. It is more like a funny joke. Then, what is a joke? Our lives do not consist of fun things. It is made of pain and sadness mostly. But why do we joke? Why do we need one? With this joke, we are trying to go beyond our painful world. We are trying to make a small crack in the bitter, miserable life, and eventually, this crack will be bigger and bigger, then ultimately, we may destroy it. The way to defeat that seriousness is not to solve the serious problem but to use a proper joke that can nullify the situation. In the end, we will get through this tough life with this wisdom of joke.

I still don’t have answers about what sculpture and art are. And I still need to figure out where to go. However, there is only a journey. There is no ultimate answer. This work could be a conversion point to the next piece. This is the starting point of my new adventure.

Jaeyeon Park, <Balls>, Log, Scrap wood, Tennis ball, Wax, 2022

Jaeyeon Park, <Bussiness card> by Saehoon Kim, 2022

Jaeyeon Park’s experimental exhibition <Rat & Bee>
Space Pado, Seoul, South Korea, 2022

“His works start from the objects that have been abandoned, unattended, borrowed, or secondhanded and sold back. Therefore, the process towards the creation is a interminable movement in both directions, willingly subordinated to the distinct elements remaining in the original object and at the same time trying to deconstruct it. Through archiving scattered objects and bizarrely blending incongruity and infelicity, his formative work pauses for a moment in line with the 'date of the exhibition' and the 'moment of exhibition' without an exact moment of completion. He stands the question of authentic form or authentic meaning between the unfinished object, the passage of time,
and the spectator.”

(Text: Yeowool Yoon, translated by Sungeun Won)

Jaeyeon Park, Chen Gao, <Shadows>, mixed media, 2022
Inspired by Akira Kosemura, <Shadow>, 2017

(Collaborated with Chen Gao)

Jaeyeon Park, <Fallen Child>, Found Object, 2022

Jaeyeon Park, <Tennis>,<Ski>, Epoxy Clay, Found Object, 2022

Jaeyeon Park, <Merry Christmas>, Epoxy clay, Found object, 2022