Seoul, South Korea
Haesuk Jung is an enigma, preferring to keep his artwork and personal life wholly separated. Haesuk’s body of work contains still life paintings, character illustrations, and surrealist sketches, all harmoniously fitting together within his portfolio. It is only by looking at his work that one gets a sense of his interests and inspiration. There are elements of classic Korean and Chinese painting as well as hints of Japanese manga and western Dadaism. Although Haesuk’s works range from traditional to downright bizarre, his stylistic signature is always present throughout. Perhaps revealing little about himself and forcing the audience to speculate was the intention all along.
“Korea was known as The Kingdom of Joseon from 1392 to 1897. It was a Confucianism-dominated era and distinct social classes existed among the population. The Still Life of a Study Room illustrates the books, papers, brushes, and furniture that belonged to the classical scholars of the ruling elite. People believed that knowledge would lead to prosperity in one’s life so these types of drawings were often given to children in the hope of ensuring them a bright future. This style of still life painting is called ‘Chaekgado’ and it represents success in life and career.”
Fish and Lotus
“Drawings of fish originated from prehistoric hunting and fishing civilizations. Fish represent numerous positive ideas. They can stand for productivity and fecundity because fish lay many eggs at once. When drawn in a pair, fish symbolize harmony and love between two people. Since fish don’t blink their eyes they were also believed to protect one’s property and precious belongings and were often used on locks and door knobs. The lotus has various meanings as well. It can signify nobility and, in Buddhism, it represents enlightenment and rebirth. Like the fish, this beautiful flower is also meant to bestow eternal love and harmonious life on a young couple.”