Never Has been, Never Will Be - Sueyon Yang
Title: Never Has been, Never Will Be 2018
Dimensions: 186 x 56 cm (x 3)
Material: Ink on Korean paper
Artist: Sueyon Yang
In Korea, there exists a painting called 'Sipjangseangdo’ which is translated to ‘the paintings of ten immortals’. People believed that the possession of this painting would bring them a long and healthy life which is impossible to achieve. The painting and the symbols used therefore consistently portray the belief and desires of humans longing for immortality. The reinterpretation of the work ‘Sipjangseangdo’ in "Never Has Been, Never Will Be" attempts to unveil the underlying desire for this phenomenon. The artist tries to achieve the expression by replacing the 10 traditional symbols with paradoxical images. A set of three silk paintings, "Never Has Been, Never Will Be" is drawn using delicate Korean traditional painting techniques that contain symbols which is the primary essence of Sueyon’s painting starting from the right.
The black circle in the rightmost painting represents a total eclipse. An eclipse is essentially perceived as two bright sources i.e. the sun and the moon overlapping each other. When these two congregate as one, it can cause an intense dazzling light. However, in reality, the overlapping of the sun and the moon makes the world darker. The artist utilized this phenomenon in her work to represent the irony and the impossibility of achieving immortality. Another symbol is the deer without a face that resembles the lives of human beings. The fact that the mortals have no control over situations, they certainly have to encounter the uncertainty of life. The artist used the image of the faceless deer to symbolize the unknown circumstances and the unpredictability of human lives. The painting on the left shows the crane which is falling to the ground. The crane's instinct is to fly towards the sky, however, the crane in the painting falls in the opposite direction which symbolizes that the dreams for eternity are thwarted.