JIHI

JIHI(BHAK)

JIHI uses images to explore various forms of communication that take place in human relationships. Communication is not simply exchanging information, but exchanging each other’s heart and care. The artist doesn’t work solely with the existing language, but instead, constructs a world in which images and symbols operate on their own, searching what active and sincere communication is.

JIHI graduated with a degree in fine art from Seoul Women’s University in 2010, and then relocated to France to study language. Lips are her signature symbols inspired by her deep frustration in limited communication during her time in France and the regrets left behind by the conversations with others that she wasn’t able to finish. JIHI attempts to communicate with herself in front of the canvas, which leads to self-reflection. This also helps viewers reflect on themselves and move on from their past. JIHI has held several solo exhibitions since 2014 and was recognized as a rising pop artist upon being named one of the Zero Base Artists of Seoul Auction. JIHI’s works are part of the Samsung Bioepis, Korea United Pharm, E-Land Culture Foundation, and Koo House Museum collections.

JIHI’s paintings unravel various forms of communication in human relations in the form of pop art. The heart-shaped lip motif and three primary colors that make up the majority of her paintings embody an inviting and cheerful atmosphere. Although JIHI’s works originated from her experience of difficulty in communication, they draw attention to the positive connections that people establish through shared conversations. In today’s world where individualism and non-face-to-face contact have become the norm, JIHI’s paintings make us open up to others and realize the value of communication, while demonstrating the value of visual art that functions as a channel of communication.

JIHI uses oil pastels to freely go back and forth between drawing symbolic images such as dots, dotted lines, lines and lips, circles, hearts, and eyes. At a glance, her works resemble pure and innocent doodles by children, but when observed in detail, they look like allegories full of complex and implicit symbols.

JIHI’s works have marvelous energies that convey heavy topics through light and bright images, like Keith Haring’s works. Through such works, JIHI satirizes the reality of today’s harsh world where we see less communication and exchange, while also longing for the establishment of true relationships between individuals.

JIHI presents works that do not simply convey messages on love between men and women; rather, her works speak on hope and address the lack of humanity’s love and interest in one another. Through her unique style that incorporates the use of vivid colors, implicit symbols, and text, her work goes beyond personal experience to deep contemplation on the awareness of real social issues. Furthermore, the fact that her work continues to pursue utopias makes us look forward to how her work will evolve in the future.

JIHI
Education
2010
Seoul Women’s University, Western Painting
Solo Exhibition
2022 saying&doing, Eland gallery, Gyeong-gido
telecommunication, Pintbakery Hannam, Seoul
telecommunication, Pintbakery Hannam, Seoul
2021 Present perfect continuous, Seoul Government Complex gallery, Seoul
Own my happiness, BHAK, Seoul
2020 Syndrome, Eland World HQ, Daegu
2018 Here, Love, Privahour, Seoul
#LIKE, tom&toms black Cheonggye Plaza, Seoul
2017 cafe’snowing’ art JB gallery, Seoul, Korea
Louis Quatorze gallery, Seoul
Furnimass, show room, Seoul
Dialogue, cafe MIEL, Seoul
2016 dialogue, tom&toms black, Seoul
dialogue, United gallery, Seoul
LOVE ESSAY, cafe MIEL, Seoul
Group Exhibitions and Art Fairs
2022 POPULAR, WE gallery , Gyeong-gido
2021 KIAF,BHAK gallery, Coex, Seoul
Present Perfect Progressive, Pontone gallery, London, U.K.
love&kiss, Pintbakery Hannam, Seoul
Zero base, Seoul Auction preview, Seoul
2020 Korea Galleries Art Fair, BHAK, Coex, Seoul
2019 Korea Galleries Art Fair, BHAK, Coex, Seoul
Art Miami, Pontone Gallery, Miami
KIAF, BHAK, Coex, Seoul
Art Asia, BHAK, Coex, Seoul
2018 Supporting Project of Korean Art, Seoul Art Center, Seoul
Art Asia (Solo), BHAK, KINTEX, Ilsan
popart, Kim Jae Sun Gallery, Busan
Cupid, Kidari gallery, Daegu, Korea
2017 Love Theme Exhibitions
blanc bleu, hotel art fair, Grand Ambassador Hotel, Seoul
Asia contemporary art show in Conrad, space776 gallery, 홍콩
Geeky land, K Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul
Asia contemporary art show in Conrad, space776 gallery, Hongkong
2016 Daebaek plaza art gallery, Daegu
Young artist Project, Kiss gallery, Seoul
2015 The Five Great allegory of Love, Ligak art museum, Cheonan
Korea The publicity artist Momo, gallery Ilho, Seoul
art canvas project, Germany
2014 Say Beijing, Cheongjak gallery, Seoul
Seoul art show blue in art, Coex, Seoul
CIGE Beijing’ Beijing, China International Convention Center, Beijing
love, Jipo Lighter Museum, Jeju
Collaboration
2017 G_CUTxJIHI, Clothing collaboration, Shinsegae International
2016 16s/s16f/w ‘ABRAHAM K HANGUL+JIHI’, Clothing collaboration
art collection by KEAS Bluetooth speaker
2015 A jazz singer Lee Hyeonjeong second album, cover painting and Exhibitions

Curator: Taehyun Kwon & Artist: JIHI

 

Q. It looks like you are using the existing, language-based communication method, but try to intervene in it with a set of images and symbols. However, there are also works in which you use discernible text. How does this system work?
Language and symbols alike were created by us. The meaning of symbols are arbitrary to begin with. With regard to this context, there are times when I intentionally place discernible and readable text over images for the purpose of revealing the relationship between language and image. I sometimes ask if letters can’t be understood as images, instead of as a language system. We must think about a formal structure where language is not seen as a set of symbols, but with emphasis on the way their lines look.

 

Q. Complex symbols are often jumbled together in your works. Do each of those symbols have separate world views with meanings assigned to them arbitrarily?
Not everything is set and decided, but I do work with the idea that dots represent words uttered and lines the passing thoughts. Lip-shaped figures which often appear in my paintings are symbols of things that speak.

 

Q. I would like to hear more about these lips that you often use in your works.
They take the shape of lips drawn with a single line. I call them lips, but some see them as teeth, while others see them as crowns. When I painted these for the very first time, I painted them as if I was sending kisses with great affection that can’t be expressed by words alone. Now, the lips are like signature features of my paintings. But now that these lips are important symbols in my work, I feel like I’m not able to convey that great affection I had in mind when I first painted the lips. I am thinking about breaking away from the set shape I use now and creating a disassembled, abstract version of it, painted solely in points and lines.

 

Q. Your work is often described as “pop art.” What are your thoughts or concerns regarding this designation?
The fact that it’s defined pop art isn’t import. In my opinion, pop art doesn’t concern a specific art historical period. I am from the generation that grew up watching American cartoon after Korea began to actively accept foreign culture. So pop art should be considered within a cultural context that is different from the existing context. Kim Jung Gi, who started out as an illustrator and became an important figure in the art scene, recently passed away. His passing reminded me that there was a great senior artist in Korea who thought deeply about the intersection of pop and art. As Kim did, we need to develop “independent geneologies.” Rather than categorizing something as pop art, I think it’s important to make that context mine and ours.

 

Q. Are you thinking about new art forms and styles?
I’m still working on my research on abstract forms. As for formats, I am preparing to launch an NFT project based on 3D works. I think my signature symbol, lips, can be diversified into different artistic forms and styles. Another experiment I’ve been working on is completely different from what I have been doing thus far—it’s stained glass. You might say stained glass is a classic art material and form, but I want to use it to convey my thoughts on a contemporary topic, the relationship between people living the present.
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