Jang Jeong HU
猿猴取月 Won hu chwi wol (a monkey tries to catch the moon)
The moon that a monkey struggles to catch is nothing but an illusion reflected onto the water. The monkey will drown out of greed after striving to accomplish something beyond his abilities. Is the moon you are looking at an illusion reflected onto the water or a reachable substance?
The ancient Chinese aphorism describes a foolish monkey trying to catch the moon reflected onto the water, while the original text in Chinese characters expresses a monkey that had already caught the moon. Through ambiguity connoting a contrary interpretation like this in the sole aphorism, we can see a human life struggling to attain the ideal that can be reachable or unreachable. The traces of battle engraved on the aluminum plate shows struggle and the process of facing the advanced ideal, by emptying oneself after self-awakening, as well as desire or thirst for something yet beyond ambition of physical achievement.
The present work is a parade of splendorous yet organic images as if waves or lightning had spread or sparked along the five cardinal colors. This is the process of self-discipline to burn my scattered ideas with scratches. It symbolizes not only a battle-like struggle to face a better version of ourselves by abandoning oneself but also “the flame of emptying” to reach the true ideal.
Jang created a mysterious atmosphere by making the geometrical scratch line absorb and reflect the light, which is expressed on the iron plate in an uninhibited manner according to the visible position and angle. Through this, The artist wanted to show the conceptual beauty of one self. Furthermore, this is the gist of power that embraces every moment of his passionate and tempestuous life moving towards the life energy of humanity and ideal.