Jihyun Jung

Words Left Unsaid _ Somi Sim


‘Words Left Unsaid’

Somi Sim (Curator, Gallery Skape)



But inside there are no boundaries. The prison lies outside.

_Jean Tardieu


A vocalized “rocking horse”

‘Dada’ is one of the first sounds uttered by man to another. Although it does not take the form of a precise language, a child will speak its tacit mind with vocal language such as ‘ma-‘, or ‘da-‘. Coincidentally, Dadaism, which declared emancipation of the individual from the oppression of rationality, takes the same syllables. Here, “Dada” refers to meaninglessness, while in French it means “a rocking horse”, in Slavic it becomes a positive answer in life, and in German it indicates naïveté to the point of stupidity. In Jung’s works, Dada, a rocking horse, appears as well. Actually, strange and simpleminded rocking horses who creak and struggle as they run. Dadadadadada crash snap! Clop clop! In Jung’s works “Dada” is the vocalization of objects as well as being simply a strange noise.

Return of the “banished” objects

The objects, left for dead, have returned as phantoms. The rocking horse is among the garbage piles. According to Jung, they were found at a port where abandoned objects remain behind, after wandering through time and space. It was a moment for consumables, no longer useful, discarded into the streets, corners and trash cans, to be reinstated to reality. The fact that objects, which no doubt have precise functionality according to capitalist logic, are so easily thrown away, is parallel to the existential crisis modern man commonly experiences. The spirit of modern man, projected onto capitalistic values of society, retains the image of dilapidation like so many discarded objects. From these ruins, Jung’s works, which revive such objects follow no conventional wisdom and orders. The doubts and questions against modern society’s rampant testimonies and information are fundamental to Jung’s encounter with discarded objects. They may be accompanied by nihilism and lethargy by the fact that small, personal queries cannot be acknowledged in the ungovernable mega-system. Here Jung does not attempt to deny or destroy the “given order” imposed upon individuals by society, such as social regulations, restrictions and limitations. In fact, she attempts, in her own way, to let banished objects “reside” in reality, from the oppressive system.


Attic as an “abode” beyond walls

As Baudelaire said, that “in a palace there is no room for secrecy”, in a smartly and extravagantly decorated space, trivial and insignificant being have no place to speak. By neatness that disallows even corners, trivial things are banished out of the home, their domiciles. Where Jung returns the discarded objects is in the cramped, populous reality. Wouldn’t there be something over these walls enclosing this space? The artist’s doubts and questions about the world penetrate the walls of reality, hence inviting the wall to be a “crack” into another world, rather than a “limit”. Thusly Jung reveals the “attic”, a space concealed by the walls, connecting it to the rest of the world, providing an “abode” for objects banished from the world, in the dark and musty space filled with dust.

Vocalization of objects in the attic

Going up the ladder, poking your head into the attic, you will see the gears turning, tiny lights illuminating the darkness, here and there. Then, aliens, whales and racehorses, things from unverifiable incidents in reality, will form a strange fusion with the discarded objects, swaying mechanically. The solitude and stillness of attics work to awaken our senses normally forsaken in the everyday life, compulsively and convulsively revealing the mechanical movements of objects. In the attic, not only the sculptures and paintings Jung created and discarded objects, but also dust, miscellaneous noises, light and darkness, atmosphere, and the eyes and breaths of the audience coexist. Concealed and unseen worlds, trifle daydreams dismissed as unrealistic, forgotten recollections, rejected and banished objects, and failed, negligible wishes come to be vocalized as “unspoken words” in Jung’s works.