Ahn Min Jeong writes: “My work appears to be emotionless and analytic, but when you take a close look at it, the majority of my work employs motifs from personal memories, people around me and things that I have.”
The autobiographic drawings of this South-Corean young illustrator aims at discovering the true and priceless value out of seemingly insignificant things, through anthropomorfic diagrams and charts.
Self-Portrait, digital print, 88×210.3cm, 2007
Creating a portrait of my body in this piece, I employed signs and symbols, like those commonly used in blueprints or mechanical drawings, thus leading viewers to imagine someone whom they haven’t met and possibly to reconstruct a “new” person out of the complicated and yet clearly descriptive anatomy. Technically speaking, I first measure each body part, including the length, distance and angle, and then transfer the measured dimensions onto the paper. In the process, even small moles, scars and pimples on the skin are carefully observed and translated into symbols. In addition, I also try to quantify the aura of the figure in kilometers, which refers to an invisible spirit and soul, drawing halo-like curves around the head.
Bilingualism, digital print, 91x91cm, 2007
This piece was on display at the exhibition titled Visible Sound held in 2007. In collaboration with hearing-impaired students, I interpreted their sign language into different images. Here, sign language and the visual image work in tandem to convey the same contents. In this artwork, I used the symbols from circuit diagrams to express the interrelationships between figures, the situations they are in, their appearances, how often they met, as well as how and why they met, etc.
Six-Membered Family Portrait: Mother Distributed Aloes of Her Own Cultivation among Her Family, digital print, 400×78.4cm, 2007
In the piece, six members of my family gathered together massaging with aloes that my mother had grown herself. Through this artwork, I tried to capture stories of family and the relationships between family members. The halo around the mother’s head represents her warm energy and aura. Yellow rays coming out from the mother’s forehead represent the “light of love” that she has toward her family. Also, I used the hormone, Oxytocin which is related to motherhood, for my older sister’s love and care for her baby sister.
Large version here.
Six-Membered Family Portrait: All Goes Well, digital print, 91x91cm, 2008
This piece is about a good family as a unit of responsible individuals. The most popular Korean phrase for a family motto “가화만사성(Ga-wha-man-sah-seong)” meaning “when one´s home is harmonious, all goes well” is repeated making concentric rings and embracing the entire pictorial space. Underneath it, all the family members are assembled into a single human body. The faces of the parents, who are the foundation of a family, appear as turns in a main circle which becomes the head of a bigger figure, while their four daughters form the body.
A Diagram of Somnolence, digital print, 255x230cm.2008
This piece is about the state of being half awake and half dreaming. Juxtaposing a dream in the awakened reality and a fantasy in a dream, I tried to visualize how organs work in the stage of somnolence (drowsiness) using signs and codes, including the anatomy of a brain, reactions within the nervous system, the link between the brain and the eyes, etc.
Question: Prove a Sulky Mood, digital print, 54x77cm, 2008
I tried to prove the sulks (sullen aloofness) of human beings by using mathematics.
Self-Portrait: Painting, digital print, 240x180cm, 2008
This is me painting. I tried to express my thoughts on painting, my perspective on the world, and the energy of an artist.
Manual No.1 How to Play the Piano, digital print, 168.9×89.4cm, 2012
Here, the manual is something an individual has to set and follow based upon his/her experiences and surroundings. The No.1 features a piano as a main image along with complicated diagrams and descriptions that show what the piano looks like inside, how it works or is supposed to be operated. The manuals contain my personal history with the piano over the past 20 years. The story in this piece is that the piano is quite antique and needs tuning so the player has to play it in an odd, specific way; the owner of the piano grows up to buy a brand new electronic piano and yet misses playing her old analogue piano. The manuals in the piece tell you how to handle and play this broken musical instrument. Specifically, it tells you how to clear up the area around the long abandoned piano in the room, how to use a couch arm when you don’t have a piano chair any more, how to play music using only black keys when 3 essential white keys aren’t working (which is my 10 year knowhow), etc.
What I am trying here artistically is to visualize both the visible and the invisible using signs and diagrams and thus convey something metaphysical based upon empirical study, just like in my previous works such as Self-Portrait and The Power of a Kiss. In brief, in the Manuals series, I try to express an individual’s memories, personal knowhow and emotions which can be trivial and yet priceless, using a clear means of standardized manuals.
What Is Vital for Cultivating Sprouts, digital print, 77x54cm, 2010
I expressed how human beings’ care affects the growing of plants through my father’s own experience.
What is vital for cultivating sprouts?
(Let’s figure it out using my father’s sprouts.)
*Preparation: Sprouts, Atomizer, Tap water, Care.
*Purpose of study:
1. We would learn how human beings’ positive emotions and care for sprouts can accelerate their growth.
2. We would see what kinds of chemicals come out from sprouts as a reaction to being given care.
It is proven that a sprout’s growth requires not only water and photosynthesis but care and love.
1st Chemical reaction
In the process of watering, a new hormone is created as a reaction between water and the father’s warm energy.
2nd Chemical reaction
Developmental hormone accelerates growth and makes a 2nd chemical reaction when people touch the sprouts.
The Power of a Kiss, digital print, 73.2×68.4cm, 2008
Based upon my personal memories where I would never go to school without my mom giving me a kiss good bye, in this piece, I tried to analyze what power a kiss can hold. It clearly shows that what moves the human mind is neither by the order of the brain or muscle movements nor is it by the energy generated from food.
When I was a primary school student in 1989, I was hard to go to school alone. However, my mom kissed me whenever sending me to school, by then, I was encouraged to go to school. Even when she sometimes forgot to kiss me, I got kissed by all means, and then I was highly excited to go to school like a rabbit. When I was tired to walk on the way to school, I recharged the power of mom’s kiss saved on my face. I arrived at school after the power of her kiss was exhausted, and I spent many days in this way. By the time I am used to going to school alone, neither mom’s kiss is able to encourage me any longer, nor she kisses me anymore.