Kakyoung Lee: Illustrator/Animator/Messenger // Maria (Mia) K Karlberg-Levin

The Window project in Jamaica Flux: Workspaces & Windows 2016 presents a video depicting scenes of the inside of a gallery on whose window a moving image is projected. The animation captures postures and gestures that people exhibit inside the gallery while they are looking at the art or are engaged in conversation with each other. Here, Kakyoung Lee works with the notion of “inside out.” Her 2012 piece, Window View, represents a gallery as a room in which we see the external world through moving images. In the current work, Window, the way we see the world from inside the gallery is seen from outside on the street. We are seeing us see the world. By capturing the self-reflective moment of art viewing in the gallery and placing it on the exterior of the building, Kakyoung draws our attention to the double function of art, allowing us to see the world and to see how we see the world. In these works, I experience feeling outside of and removed from the mainstream of society, isolated and yet surrounded.

Kakyoung Lee’s choice of subject matter in her moving image pieces reflects repetitiveness in daily life. She makes art by focusing on images of her everyday activities that can be easily ignored. She illustrates and animates these images, matching her method of making art and the subject matter she is dealing with. The repetitive nature of daily life activities is depicted by drawing and redrawing the same image. She chooses printmaking, photography, and video for the media of art. These media are known for producing multiples and copies – that is, an endless repetition. Thus, her art almost obsessively pivots around the idea of repetition. Her act of making art (drawing and redrawing), her media (printmaking, photography and video), and her subject matter are unified by repetitiveness.

Marks, erased and re-marked, in pursuit of a perfect final sequence, result in images, along with traces from removed illustrations, which are photographed, woven into moving images and edited with related soundtracks. Her process of illustrating and animating her images gives us a sense of what she thinks art is. I rush daily from one task to the next, rarely lingering long enough to explore where I am or what I am doing; Her art directs my attention to the incidental moments of life, and asks the question, at what cost to quality of life do we ignore small yet significant details which affect the whole?

Maria (Mia) K Karlberg-Levin