Jihyun Jung

Story about Conversation: Repetitive or Fragmented Conversation

Story about Conversation: Repetitive or Fragmented Conversation

Jee Young Maeng(curator, DOOSAN Gallery)


My words will reside one step behind the conversation between the two artists Jihyun Jung and Hyungkoo Lee.


It is often thought, on one hand, that a conversation is about sharing one’s thoughts and emotions with another. On the other hand, a conversation also involves going off in one direction on taut parallel trajectories, never to meet one another, or rather simply re-enacting the story that the other side wishes to hear. As the artist Christian Boltanski once pointed out to curator Hans Ulrich Obrist, the danger of interviews is that we always say the same thing. Yet, at times, conversation also serves as a trigger to generate new contexts within a dialogue.

The conversation between the two artists Jihyun Jung and Hyunkoo Lee appears to draw parallel lines that are unable to converge; yet, at some point these lines overlap and refract from the artists’ respective rhythms. They both filter signals through their senses via repetitive acts and processes in everyday life. And an (un)intentional crack emerges from it, deferring reaching towards a certain conclusion and instead performing a continuous rehearsal. My words reside in between, at the very moment when the two artists’ worlds intersect. I simply witness and ask questions in the brief window when these repetitive and (ir)regular movements form a segment, and momentarily cease to move.


  • Returning a Ping Pong Ball

Think of the net as a mirror and coincide

the paddles direction of movement against

the opponents motion, in reverse.

In front of the mirror, when thrusting my right hand forward

as if stabbing into the air, in the mirror I thrust my left hand forward.

So you can inversely picture the paddles angle,

direction of rotation, and progress of motion.

In doing so, you will easily understand how to simultaneously correspond to and reverse the opponents movement and swing at the net.

-How to receive a spin serve in ping pong, from Naver KnowledgeiN


Jee Young Maeng: Repetition.

Jihyun Jung: I went out to the riverside every day and tried to document the waves with a pencil on paper. There are more than one hundred sheets of paper filled with pencil lines. In addition, there are piles of latex peels where I tried to record my fingerprint over the last few months. These actions may seem useless; yet sometimes they become a wonderful means of triggering our liberation from a world that always demands a certain reason. In retrospect, the pencil drawings and the piles of my latex fingerprints appear anything but frivolous; though their forms themselves may seem to be rather simple and riddled with imperfections, they can easily belong in a space as if it were a designated destination.

Hyungkoo Lee: Preoccupied with the “bilateral symmetry” that is unavoidable when it comes to the sculpture process, deja-vu, the interpretation and foretelling of dreams, constellations and the twelve animals of the Zodiac, a Klein bottle rather than a Mobius strip, and the mechanism of debt.


Jee Young Maeng: Walking.

Hyungkoo Lee: <M.M Ω=120>

Be that as it may, recalling the Radetzky March. Heading toward Yeonhui-dong through Ansan. From Seodaemun Gate to Euljiro, from Jongno to Gwanghwamun Gate, seeing artworks in Sagan-dong, and passing Sajik Tunnel to Shinchon. Before I know it, already five hours have passed while I was walking. It clears my mind.

Jihyun Jung: It is not easy for me to walk around aimlessly. Maybe it is because I see those elderly people all the time in my neighborhood.


Jee Young Maeng: Observation.

Jihyun Jung: The value of seeing.

Hyungkoo Lee: I hopped on a subway around 4pm. It was probably the Hanyang University stop. I began to notice someone, probably around his mid-fifties, wearing a jumper and headphones. His compulsively repetitive movements walking two or three meters back and forth bothered me. But somehow his movement resembled my walking practice (Passage → Piaffe → Passage → Half Pirouette) in the studio. I was tempted to record him on video. His “step practice” continued until I got off at the Hongik University stop. (May 20th, 2014)


Jee Young Maeng: Rhythm.

Jihyun Jung: I hear someone clipping their toenails.

Sometimes the space between tic and tic is shorter or longer.

The time that one stays on the same toe

The time that one moves on to the next toe

The time of control and the moment of clipping

And then a slightly long silence signals the end,

But then again, tic.

Hyungkoo Lee: From vertical to horizontal, height to width, left to right, northeast to southwest, and space to time.


Jee Young Maeng: Sound.

Jihyun Jung:

– — – ···· · ·-·
·· — ·· ··· ··· -·– — ··-


Hyungkoo Lee: onetwo3four5six78nine10nine87six5four3twoone.


Jee Young Maeng: Training.

Hyungkoo Lee: Enter, Collected Canter, Halt, Collected Trot, Extended Trot, Half-Pass, Rein Back, Passage, Piaffe, Extended Walk, Collected Walk, Extended Canter, Flying Change of Leg, Pirouette.

Jihyun Jung: I used to record the routes of ships passing by every fifteen minutes. I was completely isolated in a room without any windows. The only thing I could hear was the sound of an electronic web, and connecting me to the outside reality were green dots on the black radar screen. One might have no idea as to what the radar screen is saying when one sees it for the first time. But it gets easier to read as time goes on. Furthermore, you could determine the type of boat by the size of the green dot, and with more training, you could go so far as to tell the weather outside. One day, I recognized an unidentified object, a little larger than regular size, moving slowly on the radar screen. It was the middle of the night and I could not discern what it was with my eyes. So I urgently dispatched the patrol boat. It was difficult to exactly pinpoint it, but after a long search and lengthy communication, what we found was a big log floating around in the ocean.


Jee Young Maeng: Rehearsal.

Jihyun Jung: A friend of mine who is an artist told me of his experience where a piece that he plans to exhibit, which works perfectly fine beforehand, always malfunctions at an opening. I suggested to him that he should test it one hundred times in advance, and he did. And what happened was that he experienced one-hundred-and-first malfunction of the piece at the opening.

Hyungkoo Lee: Calculating time is about considering sunlight.


Jee Young Maeng: Re-enactment.

Hyungkoo Lee: Mimicry

Complete Metamorphosis

Jihyun Jung: I know I am not criminal…

Following after an incident of attempted murder, the investigator who was in charge came to me again. It was after I heard the news that I was one of three suspects. The investigator sounded out the testimony he heard from someone that I had committed the crime. Although I was not a criminal, the whole situation made me nervous, so I pretended to be nonchalant and cool. The same thing happened to the investigator, who also knew I was not the man he was looking for. So, I could tell that he did not have faith in his words, but only acted as if he suspected me. We both did our best in that small room: I, acting the part someone who is not a criminal, and he, and acting the part of an investigator, in what was like a stage set for the two of us to act on.