The latest work, by Jae Hoon Lee, is quite different to last year’s works. First, it’s printed on photographic paper. Second, the theme matter and style of the work borders on “fantasy”. As explained the accompanying blurb… I recently re-subscribed to the 4A “Edition” Series, and picked up the first work of this year’s series, by Jae Hoon Lee, earlier this week.
By way of explanation, 4A is a contemporary art gallery in Sydney which specialises in art by artists with an an Asian/Australian connection. It’s a broad category of artists, especially when you consider two of the works from last year’s series were by artists with mixed Aboriginal-Chinese heritage. The first work in the current series is by a Korean-born artist who lives in New Zealand.
The way the Edition Series works, is you subscribe each year ($500 last year, $600 this year) and you receive a number of limited edition art works which are chosen for you. Last year, there was everything from screen prints to porcelain. It’s a bit of a lucky-dip in some ways, but it’s also very exciting, and you find yourself receiving and learning to enjoy works from artists you may not have previously encountered. Last year, for example, the first work was from Jason Wing, who I’ve since met, and who I learned more about, through his work in a laneway in Sydney’ Chinatown.
Area of Maya depicts a map containing animals known to exist at the time of the ancient Mayan civilisation. By superimposing a Polar Bear into the original composition, Lee disrupts the nature of the work by creating a sense of alienation and timelessness: a satirical and analogous comment on the artist’s position as a cultural wanderer, caught in a perpetual state of dislocation.
The style of the work challenges me in many ways. It’s not the kind of work which I generally find myself attracted to. There’s a LOT going on in the work, whereas I usually find myself attracted to more simple images. It will be interesting to see how I adapt to the work, as it takes a place in my home or workplace. It’s being framed at the moment, so I’m not entirely sure where it will end up. But that’s what I like most about this series – the element of surprise, and the way you are challenged.