Jin Han Lee artist statement

As a Korean artist based in the UK, I live with a heightened awareness of language. My painting practice builds on an everyday experience of translation between languages and the consequent gaps opened up by what is untranslatable. The question of language permeates my painting; I do not, however, rebel against it so much as bend it to my purposes, reform its authority.

 Painting, to me, is a theatrical interface in which I, as a painted protagonist, narrate my experiences of miscommunication and being lost in translation—literally and tragicomically eluding the authority in language. I bring together the graphic and the pictorial, deploying motifs chosen for their symbolic and semiotic value within the expressive potential of painting. My painting explores the capacity of the medium to express what is untranslatable in language. I use oils—the epitome of a traditional material—in an unorthodox manner, varying scale, gesture, colour, surface texture, creating a spatial fragmentation. Composed from images significant within my lived and imagined experiences, previously or elsewhere narrated in writing, these paintings create sensations or schematisations around motifs whose meaning I cannot pin down in words. My painting is, for me, a language that I visualise.

May 2021