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Thursday, September 21, 2023

Life + Arts

Professor blends cultures in exhibit

Visiting professor Yeon-Jung Kim’s exhibit, “InBetween”, blends elements from Western and traditional Korean cultures. It is on display in the G.D. Hines College of Architecture through the end of today. | Nine Nguyen/The Daily Cougar

In the Korean culture, a screen divides a room to produce a new space, a new realm.

Visiting professor Yeon-Jung Kim’s exhibit, “InBetween”, located in the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture’s dock, expresses the harmony of East meets West by using the Korean screen to produce modern spaces with a traditional solution.

The exhibit starts off with a traditional screen of books and ornaments on a bookcase. Kim digitally removes these ornaments, producing a modern screen of only books; she explores this empty space within negative space.

Other digital reproductions incorporate Western culture by implementing an iPhone, Apple Inc. logo and Mickey Mouse ears among Korean ornaments.

“The panels introduce the harmony between you and I — Eastern and Western,” Kim said.

This also rings true for Kim’s color palette for the screens. They are a collaboration of deep tones, inspired by the Rothko Chapel, accented with the lighter tones from Korean wrapping paper.

The harmony continues through the exhibit in such prints as “Rosetta Collection”, a print that shows the Korean constellations, which are based on nature and humans, juxtaposed with the Western constellations, which are based on Greek mythology.

“We live under the same sky, but speak different languages; we have different points of view,” Kim said, referring back to the meaning of Rosetta — “a same meaning, different words.”

The collection is tied together with prints of Korean influence along with those of Western influence, standing as one or alone, respectively.

The third and second-to-last prints are inspired by Native American art, and capture some of the professor’s personal experiences.

They are both low opacity images of a map of the Houston area and sheet music, with Native American markings along the sides and in the middle of both prints – a symbol of the royal Korean wedding procession.

The procession symbolizes Kim’s journey from the East, Korea, to the West, America, not only bridging the long physical distance, but also the distance between points of view. The more prominent of the two was the sheet music “Konzert” print that Kim holds dear because of its ties to her son’s piano studies.

The exhibit concludes with two large wallpaper prints of deep, Rothko tones, with wire-frame stenciling of the traditional bookcase and ornament screens.

The wallpaper is where Kim’s purpose is made most clear: to produce a new kind of serenity and harmony of Korean tradition and Western modernism within interior design.

The exhibit remains on display through today. Kim is a visiting professor from Ewha Women’s University. Her areas of expertise are digital design methods and interior design.

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