Jenny Cho

Visible and Invisible In-Between Eyes and Mind
, 2009, Jongho Jay Kim

Jenny Cho’s series In-Between deals with the state between two points: eye and mind. In her works, she explores the process of visual perception through the conjoining of both.

According to a theory of cognitive psychology, the human brain perceives the same object differently depending on one’s experience. In her work, Cho confronts the divide between subjectivity and objectivity by collapsing images of things into montages of personal experience and memory.

Cho follows a careful process with her art, first taking photographs of an object from numerous angles and perspectives and then recomposing them into a single work of “photo-relief”

Jenny Cho constructs her photo-reliefs with a three dimensional artistic plan supported by engineering wires, defying the traditional method of displaying photographs in a linear row. Her work mirrors the progressing steps of the visual perception, in which the image of an object itself becomes conjoined with the viewer’s experience and memory.

By representing not merely the visual aspects of an object, but the perception of an object, Cho’s paintings based on photo-reliefs reveal the artist’s integrated vision of visible and invisible.

The element of time inevitably intervenes in accordance with this process. Past memory and experience reawaken and take place in present as the process of Cho’s work progresses. 

In Double Portrait (2008), Cho’s perspectives - not as one of the family members, but as an outsider - are recomposed into a photo-relief examining the essence of family.

Cho arranges images of the living room and dining room at different depths and juxtaposes photos of her parents from both day and night as if they all co-exist in a single plane of space-time, alluding the unchangeable value of family in the face the passage of time. The painting based on this photo-relief reveals home as a valued space in harmony and happiness as well as a perceptual space embedded with discord and conflict.

Though based on photo-reliefs, Cho’s paintings are extensions of her process of arrangement, including certain images not there before and excluding others clearly evident in the photographs. In case of Double Portrait, the clock in the dining room is erased intentionally because the work itself contains the element of time.

In this respect, Cho’s works resonate with the works of Cézanne, Picasso and David Hockney; however, in contrast to those artists who use idealized perspective to replicate reality, Cho applies the perspective as plastic elements like point, line, color in paintings.

All existence first confronts the senses without meaning; we can only understand the essence of existence through our post-perceptual questions.

Artwork reveals its inner secret according to its degree of expression and approach to subjectivity through objectivity.

Cho’s current work and future development will expand the boundary of contemporary photography and painting, and hopefully, of meaning.



Jongho Jay Kim is a director of Doosan Gallery Seoul and New York.