An Analogy on Jazz, the Locus of Non-Linear Space :
Recent Works by Hye-Ja Moon [Jazz Fantasy]
What would the meeting between jazz and the visual art look like? This kind of a
question maybe a vague one. Regarding this matter, there is one thing to be
mentioned in advance. When I consider the meeting between the music and the
traditional visual art, such as sculpture, painting, and drawing, especially in the
position of a visual artist who accepts the genre of music, it would be much more
proper to expect the meeting from the classical music than from jazz. This point can be believed in terms of the old companionship-like relations between the music and the art of the western modernism. As being experienced by the early tradition from Delauney, Dufy, and Mattisse to Kandinsky, it can be an example that art is enough to analogize the purity of color and the rhyme of form from the music.
Therefore, the music has played no less an important role than architecture to open a new era of the contemporary art. There have been, however, few examples that the art accepts an inspiration from a special folk music like jazz and it's difficult to find a successful model.
From that point, [jazz Fantasy] the artist has recently tried, can be understood as
a special one. In her case, it can be said that it is closer to the video art by Nam June Paik which introduces various multi sound rather than the classic, but it is unique that she is devoted in jazz only.
Besides, in her case, it maybe meaningless to say that she has tried to get an
inspiration from jazz. Therefore, 'extraordinary' fate has the meaning to her that it takes a different locus with a precedent from the early modern movement, which had tried to find a source of 'purification' of the art. It cannot be overlooked that the special private sources about jazz worked as a motivation to her. Let's take a notice on her comment : [ Rite of Spring] by Strawinsky and have been also absorbed in the modern music like [transfigured Night] by Schoenberg. In the summer of 1996, however, my taste of the music was abruptly changed after I visited a jazz concert of Maria Schneider in New York. It seemed that my imagination was developed by the fresh and shocking incident. On those days, I felt that the odd music my daughter mistakenly played over and over again while she composed jazz music, and I pressed myself for an impact to the new art, having feelings I've never felt before until then from the discord.
Her five-year experience with jazz can be confirmed by analogizing the inspiration, which comes from [the odd discord created by the repeated mistaken playing], in the visual art. Precisely speaking, it means that she has been devoted herself on converting not perfect, so to speak unstable condition or playing the unexpected notes impulsively by ear, without any preparation, into paintings, sculpture, and drawings above all.
Like this, [an Analogy on Jazz] has been started from her 9th solo exhibition in 1998. However, this 10th exhibition presents much more deepened works than ever. All the works of her drawings and paintings, including her main work of sculpture, have full jazzy atmosphere in them, and moreover, they are named as one theme of [jazz Fantasy]. We can often see the cases which have limited contents of themes with subtitles added on them, but it cannot be also said that it is not beyond the category of the basic theme. Her sculpture contains a jazz base, an electric guitar, a guitarist, a tree of trumpet, and a huge band. Her paintings contain the sky of Miami, rings, red trumpets, ladders to the sky, stairs, and her drawings, night, dawn, flowers, pain, soul and base guitarists, etc. Besides, most subtitles also take jazz instruments or the players, forms of playing, so that her recent works can be said to be full of the world of jazz.
Speaking in a word, the recent works of Hye-Ja Moon put the meaning on showing the unstable and natural discord or the atmosphere of the free and unexpected sound, so to speak, such as the free brush strokes on her canvas. In the case of her sculpture, the various structures take an attention from the viewer. She tries to create the free meeting between the mass and the linear form in her sculpture even though they are made of bronze, spouts freely the rhythmical movements, and makes the different forms overlapped. Sometimes, she also tries to make a purposeful gap and produces impulsive linear rhythms and forms by coloring, while giving a comment on the physical movement, and she creates shocking assemblage and swirls of the linear-mass.
The same situation is being developed in her paintings and drawings. The jazz
instruments, including a trumpet and the geometric cubic forms and the ribbon-mass, create the theatrical dance. And while they are assembled together, they produce confrontation, contrast, or overturn with discordant colors and forms. The rings and lines among them create the world of chaos, which contains a kind of contact beyond the common sense, as they cross each other.
In the case of her drawings, the situation is much freer. The seam of the subtle rings are drawn with the coloring materials like graphite, gesso, oil pastel, and so on, and then the flowing pain and the solitary souls are commented and abruptly appeared. On the contrary to the seam, there are also the figures of the magnanimous rings and paper rolls, dancing flows of wrinkles created by a wavelength from some where, the streams of prototypes and the mysterious flowers almost busted. Besides, the ribbons and clouds accompanied by the vertical forms that are repeatedly connected and the subtle shades are on them, as well as the blossomed flowers with brilliant colors. As the artist confessed, she[makes a contrast between blue, purple and yellow, imagining the melancholy sound of tenor saxophone, trumpet with strong high tones,
drum being stricken strongly or weakly]. While doing that, in her words, she creates the forms [as if I see the scene when sound of a saxophone or trumpet is spread in darkness, and as vibration jazz twined paper flying cloth disguise].
As for me, I consider this kind of plastic explosion, especially in the case of the visual art, forms [a prototype of the non-linear space]. As if the sound streams of jazz itself create multi-layered structure of sound, letting the numerous little streams alike or confronted to them exist in the basic streams, her works similarly create the non-linear frame of fractal forms connected with rings. At the same time, they produce dazzling movements, positioning the forms or the elements confronted each other on the back or on the front.
As well as those forms are impulsive in the way of assemblage, they create [the
traces of the non-linear space], while they produce the fresh and active space,
which makes people confused where the center is on, making the center and the
surroundings push and compete with each other. On this point, she seems that she penetrates the reality of the non-linear world, which makes a rapid increase in these days, in the dramatic situation of jazz.
And now, Hye-Ja Moon leaves from the sculpture in which she has searched for a tidy and linear structure, and discovers the non-linear space in jazz, a symbol of the convulsive age, exchanging emotions with the modern classical music just as she pursued in 80s~90s. It is a reasonable result that she is leaning toward the plane rather than to the cube, emphasizing that drawing is the most proper genre to create something another.
This recent change in her works is accepted as a radical and fresh impact, when we see it on the aspect of her career as an artist and the generation she belongs. I think it is very fresh that she discards the reality of the art world here, where people take perfection as a measure for the plastic concept, and makes the uncompleted wildness come to the fore.
I hope that this exhibition could show the artist's whole condition through her works and get a reward with understanding and affection from the art lovers.
Bok-Young Kim (Professor of Hong-Ik University, Art Critic)