Meet: Jinyong Park is a South Korean artist living and working in London. She received an MA from the Royal College of Art in 2015. Park’s work continues to reflect her language experience, using her own hieroglyphs to tell personal narratives.
PlinthPlinth | Jinyong Park
“What would you call geometric abstraction that wants to be figurative?
Artist Jinyong Park calls her repeated shapes ‘imaginative hieroglyphs’ and has said her paintings are about her ‘relationship to language’. These works seem so deeply engaged in the process of symbols/words slipping away from their referents that they are quite the challenge to write about, but here goes.
On screen, I associate both ‘Home’ and ‘Bosom’ with video games: over a fish-scale-ish pattern, the former’s cloudlike glyphs appear to be falling (or rising) in vertical columns – should I catch them, and do different colours mean different points?
Meanwhile, the latter’s green tessellated triangles invoke trees or mountains on an aerial view of a map, scattered among which are orange ovals like coins – should I collect them?
However, in the gallery (these two works are currently showing side by side at Unit London) the paintings’ A4 sizing is more immediately striking. Here, I’m reminded of potato stamps, stencils and all those times my mother kept me distracted with a couple crayons and a blank sheet of paper plucked from the printer.
What’s common to both these scenarios is the invitation to play – an important aspect of language acquisition. You could, of course, say that all painters translate abstract perceptions into a visual language of brushstrokes on canvas. But Jinyong’s ‘imaginative hieroglyphs’ are symbols whose meaning we seem to be working out at the same time as the artist.
In the 2016 sci-fi film Arrival, it is said that if you can read the logograms of the alien ‘heptapods’ you can see the future. Jinyong’s paintings hold a similar promise of a world just out of reach, one we don’t yet have the words for.” – @galesammi
Working on: Jinyong told Plinth she's working on "New paintings, keeping my eyes inwards to have more works on my hand. Internally busy with raw words to develop and experimenting with them."