After an artistic training in Seoul (South Korea), Jungjin Lee left in 1988 to study photography at New York University.
She has since resided primarily in the United States.
Robert Frank’s assistant in the early 90s, she considers him a mentor, a “Zen sage” to whom she regularly showed her work. He wrote in the preface of the book Desert, published in 2002:
Jungjin Lee is the American Desert Traveler… As if made by moonlight, an immediate calm emanates from her images… They have power… On her way, crossing the void, Jungjin has listened to a voice within her. Without a map to navigate, she is able to show us the reality of her obsession – and that touches me. -Robert Frank
For Jungjin Lee, photography is an inner adventure; and the place conducive to her research, her “obsession”, is a primary nature, free from all human occupation (the desert, the ocean). She finds a way to step back from the superfluous, to come face to face with herself, at the roots of existence. The desert is in this as much a driving force as a subject of her work.
I do not depict landscapes or nature. The desert makes me see my inner self and my goal is to make images of what I feel there – my inner state of mind, the eternal sense of being open and present to the world. – Jungjin Lee
With “Voice”, this new series of fifty works, Jungjin Lee explores a strange and dreamy nature: sometimes mineral and earthy (rocks, gray and bare horizons), sometimes fluid (waves, currents, waterfalls ) from which life arises in tormented forms (saguaros cacti, solitary trees).
Sometimes bordering on abstraction, these images come in large format prints (109 x 152 cm) with an appearance reminiscent of drawing. This work on the material of the print is a constant of Jungjin Lee who began to manufacture her own photographic support in the 90s by emulsifying by hand drawing paper, Western or Korean.
This technique gives a very special life to the prints which retain the trace of the brush, the irregularities of its passage, and the texture of the paper.
For the last ten years, the final stage of the print has been digital (pigment inkjet from a scan of the reference print) but it retains this characteristic aspect of Jungjin Lee’s work.
My images should be seen as metaphors: neither representation of the real world nor expression of its visual beauty, they are a form of meditation. – Jungjin Lee
Jungjin Lee : Voice
from June 11 to July 30, 2022
Galerie Camera Obscura
268, boulevard Raspail 75014 Paris