Interview of Artist Eunhye at RHAA
By Yuqing Lao
Yuqing: Congratulations on the success of your ongoing exhibition Millennial Pink at the Research House of Asian Art in Chicago and thank you for granting us your time for the interview! Your exhibition addresses the issue of sexual crimes targeting women in South Korea. Why are you drawn to this subject?
Eunhye：This social issue has been controversial for a long time. However, South Korea has been dealing with huge presidential scandals. The government of South Korea never raises awareness about the issues of sexual crimes targeting women. In 2019, the society of South Korea faces a major turning point regarding to race, sexual orientation and gender identity. In other words, the millennial generation of South Korea is increasing public awareness of multiculturalism, gender-neutral and gender equality. Art is one of medium that people can easily absorb the subject matter. As I drawn this social issue into the form of art, I wanted to popularize the struggle for gender equality in South Korea. And this is the power of the art I believe.
Yuqing：Why do you choose video art as the communicative form to embody your art practice?
Eunhye: I was born and raised in South Korea where still the culture and custom are conservative. My family and relatives especially, they tried to put me inside this box that I only have few choices of what I want to be and who I want to be. I was frustrating living under this circumstance. And the art was the escape to find the real me. To me, I found freedom the most while I practice my art within the form of video art. Art is freedom to me.
Yuqing: You mentioned “Millennial Pink is direct in its overt sexuality, creating a space to confront the serious social issue of gender and sexual inequality in South Korea”, could you elaborate on how does the exhibition create space for tensions to be relieved?
Eunhye: There are different forms of actions of raising awareness about social issues such as speaking, writing and performing. And, art is another way of increasing awareness. So, bringing this social issue into the form of art was a big step to me. I wanted Millennial Pink to be performed in a humorous way. Art reflects the artist-self. I’m a very humorous person. But, not only that reason, I wanted to confront this social issue straightforwardly. As I use sexual desire, sexual inspired motion and gesture to face the social issues of sexual crimes targeting women in South Korea, Millennial Pink creates the sense of contradiction and this contradiction creates humor and a space for tensions to be relieved.
Yuqing: Does your video work “untitled (self-portrait), 2017” showing a three-dimensional paralleled private space floating on meadow connect to the exhibition theme?
Eunhye: Untitled (self-portrait) was inspired by the idea that if an unidentified being – this can be a god, a human being and an alien is watching my life, how does the form of my life look like? And I further connected to this action of watching into the context of voyeurism. Hidden camera footages are often created by sexual pleasure from watching others. I always have different approaches to install Untitled (self-portrait). In Millennial Pink, I put works on CRT TVs on pedestals. Audience needs an action of bending over and watching someone’s life through CRT TVs which creates a sense of voyeurism.
Yuqing：In your video “use your tongue” you used pixel and distorted images with sexual suggestiveness, could you please elaborate on that work and share your thoughts?
Eunhye: The aesthetic choices of Use Your Tongue are inspired by pornography. Porn videos often put the mosaic on genitals. And I was intriguing this idea of hiding certain part even in the video that is purposefully created for sexual desires. This is one of my early video works. In my early works, I was mainly working on footages from video sharing website. My early works are more like digital form of collages.
Yuqing：How can your fashionable photography be read into the exhibition theme?
Eunhye: Regarding photo project, I wanted to achieve the sense of confidence and seduction. In the photo studio, I was trying to capture the activeness from her motion – when she was changing the clothes, when she was putting her shoes again and so on. The clothes are very feminine, so I want more contrasting actions to it.
Yuqing：What are your biggest influences or where are your artistic inspirations coming from?
Eunhye：Surrealism. Since I was little, I was interested in the beginning and the end of the life further the ground of consciousness and unconsciousness. I dreamed a lot. Sometimes even that dream influenced my reality as well. When I found and learn about surrealism, I felt like my enigmatic part of my life are combined into the one. It was such a mesmerizing experience to me.
Yuqing: As a professional artist, what is your goal for the next five years?
Eunhye: I want to be more active as an artist more that an art director in the company. Dedicating my time to be more as an artist. But If I have a chance within five years, I want to have a female creative crew – performers, photographers and artists. Recently, I’ve collaborated with designer brand based in Seoul and Seoul-based musician. I found the joy of sharing experience, collaborating with people. It expands my perspective and I feel very alive and active. Honestly, I’m looking forward to seeing myself after five years. I will be better being than now. I believe in myself.