Uproarious lullaby (Very loud lullaby)
How often do I lull my agitated blood to rest?
(I no longer want to be led on, cheered up, spurred on, my heart surges enough by itself; I need a lullaby, and that I have found in abundance in my Homer. How often do I lull my agitated blood to rest; for you have never seen anything so changeable, so restless as my heart.)
- The Sorrows of Young Werther, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
In 1774, at the age of 25, Goethe created an intelligent and sensitive young man with a wounded tender spirit through his book, The Sorrows of Young Werther. And Werthers’ personalities in the book have been important motives in the recent series of my painting. In particular, I discovered the main subject and keywords from the above quotation. Werther said that he needs a lullaby to calm his excited feelings. This lullaby can turn a dream into reality and become an uproarious trigger to make one fall into oneself with a young man’s passion. When falling into his feelings and contemplating them, one can keenly respond to his senses and feelings by fully concentrating on them, which become assets to create one’s own inside and outside world.
The time that the paintings in this exhibition represent is usually the night. It is a time different from the noisy day, it is the peaceful time when one can soundly contemplate things but, at the same time, it’s the time when a curtain to an enormous incident seems to start opening. I attempt to express those specific senses and feelings that one has in the night through the young male characters in my paintings. One meets different people and spends time with them during the day and, in the night after this cheerful and fun daytime, one turns into a poet who falls into his emotions and seems so different from the daytime self.
Arriving is the complicated and contradictory state when one feels anxious by being overclouded with deep melancholy and cannot see what is coming. But fills oneself with passion and greed, and sometimes remains wishes to remain aloof from everything. The feelings that would be considered to be embarrassing, awkward, childish, and explicit during the daytime can work as a perfect gown to comfort the delicate bare skin of a young boy in the cold night air. There is a time that one can deeply have by oneself under a slow song that tenderly strokes one’s heart. And one goes into a dim state of feelings that creates confusion if we are aware or in a dream. Whatever there is next to us, we take our time by ourselves. Therefore, there are both being and absence at the same time.
I believe that desires to have one’s own feelings and express them in diverse ways are the distinct characteristics of human beings that make people different from other beings. From this reason, there are animals in my painting like an owl sharply and instinctively looking at viewers, unlike the indifferent young boys who fall into their feelings and keep their distance from reality. To look at or examine a thing means interest in it. People whom I paint often look down, do not focus, or have their eyes hidden. They do not look at what is in front of them or at their viewers. Furthermore, they sometimes do not pay attention to anything. What is surrounding them is only their feelings, occurring in the night from their various reasons.
The feelings projected in the paintings are autobiographical - from my experiences. I have put importance on expressing human feelings with long flowing brush strokes and the materiality of the paint. Since the unspecific portraits of the Whirlpool series in 2014 and 2015, my younger brother has been a model in my paintings. The portraits that I paint with fast brush strokes by projecting my feelings from direct and indirect experiences, and the specific model - my brother - have continuously influenced the context and way of depicting a man, especially a young man in my peer group. Since last year, I have attempted to capture more narrative subjects in my paintings beyond the expression of my feelings and their momentary impression. And there are more than just aspects of a character as the subjects of my paintings now: objects, landscape, literary elements, etc. appear.
by Taehoo Jung