Interview: A Young Lee
Luca Curci talks with A Young Lee during THE BODY LANGUAGE 2022, at THE ROOM Contemporary Art Space.
A Young Lee is a visual artist based in Seoul, Korea. She is interested in language, communication, and emotions. Her works use typography and a new language she created. Lee’s works do not suggest certain ways to read nor meaning behind her paintings because she respects and welcomes all the experiences and feelings people had, just like verbal communication does. The title of her works become the subject of the conversations, and colours, texture, and shapes tell her stories. Viewers read or feel her works through their imagination, experiences, and so on. This circumstance is the ideal communication- no boundaries and no limits- that she desires. Lee received BFA Illustration from Parsons School of Design in 2016 and an MFA Fine Art from School of Visual Art in 2021.
Luca Curci – What’s your background? What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?
A Young Lee – I was born in South Korea. As a child, I was very active and outgoing. I moved to Canada when I was 15 years old, and the language and the culture were so unfamiliar that I became shy and introverted since then. Most especially, learning and speaking in a new language, English, was tremendously difficult for me-and it still can be even now. At that time, drawing was my only interest. It not only comforted me mentally but also served as a role for me with international languages. These experiences have led me to continue doing art and have turned out to be the subjects of my works.
LC – Which subject are you working on?
AYL – As I answered in the previous question, language and communication between people are my utmost interests. The communication that I conduct, is beyond languages. This includes interactions between feelings as well as feelings that overcome cultural differences and language barriers. This is my ideal type of communication.
LC – How is being an artist nowadays?
AYL – I think artists do not struggle with their lives anymore. Of course, we do not have regular salaries like some other careers, but the arts do possess a role in amplifying the quality of life nowadays. As more people are becoming interested in the arts, more opportunities are being given to artists. The arts have become more familiar to the public, and going to galleries allows for very easy access. Covid, particularly, has vitalized online exhibitions so anyone who has access to the Internet can enjoy shows anywhere. As a result, I believe that artists are quite close to everyone’s lives.
LC – Where do you find your inspiration?
AYL – I usually become inspired by my experiences. The different things I see, listen to, read, and feel all inspire me. Everything such as words and sentences that endlessly come to my mind and various colour pallets that spread out in front of me is basis of my artworks.
LC – What is the most challenging part about creating your artworks?
AYL – I would answer a conflict over what I desire and what others may desire. I want to create ‘my’ works that are purely intentioned and objective. However, sometimes as I work, I question myself about what people will think of my work. Then, I feel like the works have turned into impure intentions. Discarding thinking about others’ opinions is the most challenging part of creating my artworks.
LC – What do you think about the concept of this exhibition? How did it inspire you?
AYL – The concept of this exhibition, I think, is a relationship, connection, and circulation. How people accept, adapt, change themselves, and commune with their surroundings to become harmonized is natural, but this requires a lot of physical and psychological effort. When ‘body language is defined as sympathizing with others who differ from one’s own culture and the environment by his or her specific ways, I think the concept of my artworks can relate.
LC – Can you explain something about the artworks you have in our exhibition?
AYL – I represent 3 works in this exhibition. Sincerity I and II are written in my typography about my feelings towards someone, and To Me From You, I am a reply to a letter I received from someone, also written in my typography. They are not readable, but instead, I reveal emotions through colour pallets. This is because emotion is very personal, not forcible, and is universal.
LC – Did you enjoy cooperating with us? Is there something more we can provide to artists?
AYL – I enjoyed it a lot. ITSLIQUID GROUP actively helped and communicated with artists. Moreover, I felt that they tried to let people enjoy the art rather than the benefits. It is a little hope. I would love to participate if they offer virtual exhibitions too.
LC – Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
AYL – I deeply agree that they do. I also was able to show my works and had an opportunity to state my thoughts through this exhibition from Korea, which is thousands of miles away from Venice. It is valuable for artists around the world to exhibit their works at different locations.